Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Metricate the Roads? Looks like Prescott is on the ball again.

1999-2001: Correspondence form John Prescott, Secretary of State for Transport

“We aim to metricate Britain’s road signs in 2006, by which time we estimate that over 50% of drivers will have been metric educated”
John Prescott, Secretary of State for Transport

Well Done BBC Look North's Colin Briggs

It is unbelievable the lengths the BBC has gone to this past week in its desperate attempt to give legs to the UK Metrication Association's preposterous idea to metricate the country's roads.

However, every poll is slaughtering the idea BUT the BBC is intent on furthering the pro-metric agenda wherever possible.

In usual politically correct fashion, this morning's weather forecast on national BBC Breakfast stated that there could be up to 10cm of snow on the way.

However, cut to the North East's Breakfast Bulletin that followed. Presenter, Colin Briggs told the North East viewers that there was 4 inches of snow on the way.

Nice one Colin.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Another Clanger ... they just keep on coming here in Sunderland

A stretch of road beside the Stadium of Light has become the most lucrative in the North East for Northumbria Police's Speed Cameras.
The location has netted over 11,000 motorists.
However, we can now reveal a catalogue of errors for this stretch of road and, pending the outcome of our investigations and handing over of certain files, may force the refunds for many motorists who have been fined illegally.
It appears as though the road is still classed as 'unrestricted' and therefore 60mph speed limit applies.
As the road was opened before street lighting columns were erected the 'restriction' to 30mph must be applied by means of a Traffic Order. The council has confirmed that there is no TO in place.
On top of that it appears as though the speed camera vehicle was parked across the cycle track to collect driver offences. As the police can only do this in an emergency and with lights flashing it appears as though they may not have acted lawfully.

And now the one which was slipped to council the other day...on 6th February 2006 a proposal was made for the council to 'adopt' the road. All this time, since it was built, it has been unadopted.
It was unadopted when the councillors agreed to call the road Keir Hardy Way some seven or so years ago.
Now the same councillors have already stated that there is no money available to adopt the unadopted roads in and around the former pit village areas. The question has to be 'how much money have they already spent on this unadopted road and who is responsible for this cock-up?'

Another Poll ... indulge yourself

The Independent on Sunday
Poll of the week

Should Britain go metric?
The former Labour leader Neil Kinnock says Britain should have metric road signs in time for the 2012 Olympics. What do you think? Vote now, and add a comment. Results and best comments will be published in this weekend's Independent on Sunday
Please e-mail IoSPoll@independent.co.uk with your answers.

My post is below:
Lord Kinnock's support has sounded the death knell for this minority held opinion. For any political party to propose such a change would be political suicide ... and at a cost upwards of £1billion for the signs alone then this washed up political has been has simply endorsed this proposal as a condition of his £75k per annum pension taxed at 11% ... to continue to promote 'european integration.'
Lord Kinnock supported the euro, the european constitution and now metrication. Looks like he has finally got a treble up ... three non-runners!

You can count me as a NO.

Neil Herron
Campaign Director
Metric Martyrs Defence Fund
0191 565 7143

Pro Metric Metro newspaper attempts to distort poll ... get involved

Dear all,

There is a poll on metric road signs running at the moment on Metro, the pro-metric free London newspaper.

Our opponents are claiming it's more representative of public opinion. The current figures are ( 51% keep miles on road signs / 49% switch to kilometres).

Compare this with the results from all the other recent national polls which all ran out at 95%+

Then look at the wording of this poll.

Click here to vote

I am sure that you will wish to get involved once you know that Lord Kinnock is supportive of the change, that it will cost upwards of £800m for the signs alone not to mention the ridiculous task of converting 35m imperially prominent speedometers.

Give these people a millimetre and they'll take our mile.

Please forward this e-mail to all your contacts and ask them to cast a vote.


Neil Herron
Metric Martyrs Defence Fund
0191 565 7143

Council ordered to pay back parking tickets

Another victory with massive implications. This one uncovered by Barrie Segal of www.appealnow.com
To read how this victory could cost councils millions click here

Herron on TalkSPORT

Just done another 2 hour slot and some of the calls were staggering. The issue regarding bailiffs clamping cars is growing as well as the remote policing problems with cloned vehicles. It is quite clear that decriminalised parking and private land parking enforcement is now totally out of control and the only solution is to create political pressure on the Government and legal pressure on the enforcement contractors and local authorities.
Funds are required to drive all of this and keep all the pressure on, so any help will be very much appreciated.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Kinnockio in the Booker Column...now we know why he spoke

Christopher Booker's Notebook
Sunday Telegraph
25th February 2006

Lord Kinnock calls for the UK's roads to be signed in metres by the time of the Olympics
For a chap who spent years campaigning for the abolition of the House of Lords and was elected to Parliament by calling for Britain to pull out of "Europe", Neil Kinnock hasn't done badly. He is now a lord himself and, as a former European Commission vice-president, enjoys a pension of £75,000 a year - one condition of which is that he must promote "European integration".

This is doubtless why he has been wheeled on by the UK Metrication Association to head its campaign for the use of miles to be made illegal on Britain's road signs. This tiny but tireless pressure group has been squeaking away for years about how silly it is that we still use miles, which, as Kinnock points out, "contradicts the image of our country as a modern, multicultural, dynamic place".

It is time, says the great man, that we followed the example of the Irish, who metricated their roads last year. We must spend a mere £80 million on eliminating the hated mile by the time the "all-metric Olympic Games open in London in 2012".

What the noble lord didn't perhaps grasp was that changing our road signs (opposed by more than 80 per cent of respondents in the latest poll) would actually cost £800 million, according to the Department for Transport.
And the figures from Ireland show that the switch to metric is far from an unqualified success: last year, both road deaths and speeding offences soared.

As for those "all-metric Olympic Games", I leave the last word to "Metric Martyr" Neil Herron, who points out that the country likely to win most medals in 2012 is the non-modern, non-multicultural, non-dynamic United States - which is also still, of course, non-metric.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Getting the hump

Private Eye
17 February - 2 March 2006

Fresh embarrassment for Sunderland City Council, which has yet to repay more than £34,000 in illegally issued parking fines.
Not only were there insufficient local "traffic orders" issued for a new "decriminalised" parking regime which came into force in 2003 - therefore making thousands of parking tickets illegal - but it has now emerged that the same applies to speed humps and 20mph zones in scores of the city's streets.
By installing humps without proper legal orders, the council was, in fact, merely obstructing the highway. Motorists fined for speeding, or whose exhausts have been damaged, may now be able to sue.
Local campaigner Neil Herron, who exposed the cock-ups, believes that all parking tickets issued from 2003 until late last year could be unlawful - and due refunds - because they did not carry the date of issue. A report by the city solicitor reveals that parking contractor NCP was told to stop giving out tickets with no issue date last June, but carried on regardless.
The parking shambles and scandals ensuing from the council's sale of its housing stock to the Sunderland Housing Group (Eyes passim) have made it likely that opponents of the city's clapped out Labour regime will succeed in gathering the 10,000-plus signatures necessary to force a referendum later this year on whether to have an elected mayor. Various names are being bandied about as possiv#ble candidates, including Mr Herron, and BBC Action woman Kate Adie, who was brought up in Sunderland (Ms Adie tells the Eye this is the first she has heard of it).
Locals have been encouraged by the way entrenched Labour regimes were overturned in nearby Middlesbrough and Hartlepool in 2002 by "peoples candidates" - former "Robocop" Ray Mallon and H'Angus the Monkey. Perhaps a monkey should stand in Sunderland, too - this being the council that prosecuted the late greengrocer Steven Thoburn for selling bananas by the pound.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Kinnock gets a treble up ... three non-runners!

Lord Kinnock played straight into the hands of the Metric Martyrs Campaign by endorsing the UKMA's absurd proposals to metricate the country's roadsigns. We thank him kindly for promoting our campaign and sending many more supporters our way.
After all, if it's supported by Kinnock it must be a loser.

We heartily congratulate him on supporting the euro, the EU Constitution and now roadsign metrication ... and congratulate on him getting a treble up of three non-runners.

UKMA Run away from any debate

In all the coverage of Lord Kinnock and UKMAs absurd proposals to metricate the country's roads spokespersons from the pro perspective were conspicous by their absence.
In all the TV and radio that I did there was no opposition.
The BBC desperately tried to give the story some legs but it fell flat.
Even David Dimbleby's attempt to portray those opposed as 'backward thinking' smacked of George Orwell and 1984.
"Ark at 'im. What's a pint?"
Dimbleby said that he had been approached by a small boy who had asked what a pint was and then related the boy's bemusement when he described a quart and a gallon. He was rather mocking.

Perhaps if I described to a small boy that a litre contained a thousand millilitres and a 50 litre keg of beer would contain 50,000 ml and 10 kegs would contain 500,000ml then I would be met by similar bemusement.

But I have to ask the question as to why David Dimbleby is talking to small boys about pints?

DVLA Data Base and the £50m robbery

Our investigations are uncovering massive flaws in the availability and accessibility of data held by the DVLA.
Anyone can set up a 'parking company' and then access the DVLA data base. Private companies simply make the request at £2.50 a time. Hey presto, nameaddresss and postcode of the registered keeper.
Local authorities and / or their agents however, are not charged for their electronic requests and there is no scrutiny as to whether the request actually relates to an alleged contravention.

The Police are also not charged but with the Police there is an accountable trail and severe penalties for anyone caught accessing the data base for anything other than official business.
Consider however a local authority submitting thousands of requests a week. Who checks?
We have circumstancial evidence that some companies are 'harvesting' data and then sharing it with third parties including direct marketing companies who can then sell this data back to British companies who then cannot be touched by EU or UK legislation.

And then consider organised crime and terrorism and the ease of access to personal data.

You want to know where the manager of a Security Business lives. No need for an 'insider.' Just check the car park, note the registration numbers in the executive car park and submit the details to DVLA through a 'private' company or through a contact in a local authority.

Same applies should anyone wish to set up Al Qaeda Parking Control for purposes other than parking enforcement. Simple, easy access to data including any high profile individuals, civil servants, army personnel or government officials. Their number plates may be obscured on any TV footage but it doesn't happen outside.

Legislation must be brought in immediately to prevent unfettered access to this stream of highly confidential data. It must only be done through the Police or with Police controlled access so that every enquiry has a trace.
The cost may be £1billion a year in lost revenue for local authorities.
The cost may be an end to the 'scam private operators' fleecing motorists on private car parks and allowing motorists no right of appeal.
The cost may be time and an expense for local authorities who will have to suspend 'decriminalised' parking and revert back to proper control with proper accountability through enforcement by Police and magistrates courts.

Must we wait for a direct link back to the DVLA data base from a terrorist atrocity, assassination or a major crime before we see the three wise monkeys (DVLA, the Department for Transport and the Government) take action?

If this is how a major data base can be accessed with a total lack of scruntiny of anyone accessing the date then what chance have do we ever of having our personal details protected if we ever see the introduction of ID Cards?

Council Fists allegedly fly at NCP in Council Car Park

In a report just coming in it appears that all is not well in the Sunderland City Council car park.
It is alleged that a senior Council official was working late last Tuesday and returned to his car parked on Level 3 at 6.30pm to find that it had been broken into. The NCP wardens rarely venture out of their comfortable little cabin and had clearly failed in this instance to spot anyone chucking a brick through a window and relieving the vehicle of some of its contents.
Two Parking Attendants, it is revealed, had actually gone to the shop.
A heated argument ensued on their return, fists flew and one was assualted by the official it is alleged.
The Police were called but the PAs declined to press charges.
The folllowing day the PAs were called into NCP offices to give an account and were told by Senior NCP offials that they must press charges.
Sunderland Council have asked for time to deal with the matter internally.
NCP are jubilant that they now 'have something' on the council.
Will this be another cover-up by the Council?
Who is in charge of the disciplinary inquiry?
Who is the Council Official who claimed to be more important than Earl Belshaw (Head of Parking Services)?

Northumbria Police confirm that they were called to an incident in the car park on Tuesday evening ... 'a verbal altercation and damage to a motor vehicle.'
Sunderland Council and NCP have yet to respond.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Give these Jokers a millimetre and they'll take our mile

Story being covered on the BBC Six o' Clock news tonight. Sky have it on their discussion slot later this evening.
Done radio and tv today on this non-story.
One BBC reporter, on a local radio station, gave the game away. He rang up apologising for not getting a chance to come to me and said that their switchboard had been inundated. Everybody had been opposed to the change but most of them didn't have a clue and were talking about things such as sovereignty and freedom. As far as he was concerned the only realistic argument was in relation to cost. I think he believed that he was talking to the UKMA. His sneering attitude to those opposed to enforced metrication was all too apparent.
Littlejohn covering this in the Mail tomorrow as well.
It is quite clear that the Metric Martyrs Defence Fund needs to be here and funded in order to maintain eternal vigilance. Give these jokers a millimetre and they'll take our mile.

Press Release: Immediate

Metric Martyrs Defence Fund

23rd February 2006

Rebuttal by the Metric Martyrs to UK Metrication Association's preposterous Press Release urging that the country's roads go metric.

The UK Metrication Association has released this...

Road Signs to Go Metric in 5 Years?

The UKMA's proposals are supported by Lord Kinnock who states that the country should go metric on the roads within 5 years in time for the 2012 London Olympics.

Neil Herron, Metric Martyrs Campaign Director, states: "this is another desperate attempt by the UKMA to grab a headline. What they are proposing is absolutely preposterous, illogical and absurd and so far removed from reality and practicality that to imagine for one minute that any political party would attempt to hang this albatross around its neck indicates that the UKMA are not in touch with the real world.

If Lord Kinnock expects this to happen in time for the 2012 olympics he conveniently ignores the fact that the country that usually wins the most medals is the USA ... which is a non-metric country.

To make claims that we are prolonging confusion ... there doesn't appear to be a great clamour for change from a 'confused' public, just as there wasn't a great clamour to metricate shop scales.

Anyone looking at this logically will realise how ill-thought out the proposals actually are.

For the UKMA to say that there is 'irresponsible' opposition is disingenous to say the least. It is the policy of the mad house to think that there would not be massive practical, logistical and legal implications.
One just has to consider:
- The cost. For the hardware, the legal considerations for local authorities not to mention the cost of changing the imperially prominent speedometers on 35million motor vehicles. Could this be justified when we are struggling to fund the health service properly?
- The timescale. The changeover could not be staggered. It would have to be done nationally over a very short time period. There would have to be an 'M' day. At a time when there are other massive considerations and drains on the public purse, to spend billions on this idea would be political suicide for any political party proposing it. The metrication programme that various governments have undertaken for the past thirty years has failed miserably.
- The legal practicalities and implications. This is not just taking one sign down and erecting another. Traffic Orders will need to be changed for every stretch of road that has a speed restriction incurring expense which will fall to hard-up local authorities.
The potential for litigation from those suffering accidents / fines etc. from the changeover and misinterpreting for example 100 kmph as 100 mph or a bus going under a bridge and taking off the top deck because the height was signed in metric is infinite.

...and should we then win the bid to hold the World Cup in the future would Lord Kinnock propose that we revert back to imperial on the roads to tie in with the 10 yard rule and the six yard box?

Not a word from the elected or the accountable. This proposal has about as much chance of happening as me flying to the moon in a helium balloon from Poundland."


Neil Herron
0191 5657143
0191 5144606
0777 6202045

Please visit www.neilherron.blogspot.com and www.thepeoplesnocampaign.co.uk and www.metricmartyrs.co.uk

e-mail: metricmartyrs@btconnect.com

Notes for Editors:

The Metric Martyrs Campaign was created following the seizure of the late Steven Thoburn's scales on July 4th 2000. His, and three others were subsequently convicted of criminal offences under the Metrication Regulations.

Neil Herron along with the late Steven Thoburn were European Campaigners of the Year in 2001 with the Metric Martyrs Campaign beating Head of the European Central Bank, Wim Duisenberg, and his launch of the Euro Notes and Coins.

The Government's Metrication Programme is to continue. After 2009 it will be an offence to even use imperial measures as supplementary indications in trading transactions after 2009.
However, the mile and the pint have been allowed an 'unlimited' derogation. Perhaps for any political party to attempt to engineer their removal would be a political step too far.

A full rebuttal of the UKMA proposals can be viewed here

To read how the UKMA and its Chairman, Robin Paice, were caught out telling being 'economical' with the truth click here This also includes commentary from the Department for Transport regarding any proposals to metricate road signs.

Save Our Miles

Anger as Kinock demands metric signposts
Daily Express
Thursday February 23, 2006
By John Ingham
Transport Editor

All Britain's road signs should be converted to kilometres within three years, former Labour leader Neil Kinnock said yesterday.
His demand sparked outrage - and did not even receive backing from the European Commission.
Lord Kinnock, who spent 10 years as a Commissioner, declared that sticking with our imperial measures contradicted Britain's image as a "modern, multicultural, dynamic" country.
He backed a 66-page report by the UK Metric Association which called for signs to be converted. It put the total bill at £80 million, adding, "The change-over could be carried out economically and safely within three to five years."
Last night Lord Kinnock was accused if selling Britain short - after having opposed the country's entry into the European Union in the 1970s.
He faced a backlash from motoring organisations, politicians and pressure groups amid warnings that a change-over could reduce road safety. Critics claimed that the bill would be £1 billion.
The head of the AA Motoring Trust's road and transport policy, Paul Watters, said a quick change-over could lead to an increase in speeding prosecutions.
He added: "A move to make UK road signs metric will take far longer than five years. Any precipitous change-over will create confusion, danger and anger, particularly where misunderstanding leads to prosecution for traffic offences, such as speeding. The cost of changing road signs will far exceed that predicted in the report."
Shadow Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "There is no appetite for a change. The huge amount it would cost would be far better spent on actually improving our road and rail systems."
The RAC Foundation's executive director Edmund King said: "Lord Kinnock does not seem to be in tune with what motorists are thinking. We have not had one single call from a motorist asking for road signs to be in kilometres.
"Motorists akready spend too much time staring at speedometers instead of the road ahead because we have such strict enforcement of speed limits.
"The fact that on most car dashboards the kilometre per hour are in much smaller print might well make them look even harder."
A Commission spokesman said: " At some point the UK will have to state a date for changing but we are not pushing for it. The ball is in the UK's court."
The Commissioner responsible, Gunter Verhuegen, added: "I am not pressuring the UK to go metric. I have a lot of sympathy for the pint and for the mile in the UK. Really, what is the problem?"
Last night a spokesman for the Department for Transport said the mile was safe.
He added: "There are absolutely no plans to do this whatsoever. We estimate that changing all the signs would cost more than £700 million. We have much better things to spend taxpayers money on."
Tony Bennett, of Active Resistance to Metrication, said: "The most advanced country in the world, the United States, uses miles. One of the most successful European countries, the UK, has not adopted the euro or kilometres. So why don't we leave things as they are?"
In the report Lord Kinnock declares: "Forty years after Britain first started to go officially metric, there is one important area in which we are still living in the imperial past. We see this in the muddle of measurement units in use in the United Kingdom.
"Our road signs are perhaps the most obvious example and they contradict the image - and the reality - of our country as a modern, multiculteral, dynamic place where the past is valued and respected and the future is
approached with creativity and confidence."
The UKMA pointed out that Britain is already officially metric, including price labels, school text books and building plans, but road signs remain imperial.
It said: "This forces British people to know and use two incompatible systems, metric and imperial, with all the confusion, mistakes, waste and incomprehension that results.

Why the switch to metric could be olympic task

The Times
By Ben Webster, Transport Correspondent

BRITAIN must convert all road signs to metric in time for the 2012 Olympics or risk being seen as a backward nation clinging to an awkward and outmoded measurement system, according to a report published today.

More than 40 years after Britain began the conversion from imperial measurement, the UK Metric Association is urging the Government to set a deadline for changing half a million speed and distance signs. The association argues that the switch to metric road signs would yield safety benefits — such as reducing confusion among foreign visitors — and encourage British people to “think metric”.

The report reads: “The lack of facility to think in terms of metres and kilometres and kilometres per hour spills over into other walks of life.” Weather forecasters typically use centigrade for temperature but give wind speed in miles per hour. DIY stores give measurements and instructions in a confusing mix of imperial and metric.

Maps and atlases use the kilometre-based national grid, but distance charts are usually in miles. The Highway Code gives stopping distances in metres, but road signs tell drivers how many yards to a hazard.

The association also suggests that going metric would provide an opportunity to set more sensitive speed limits, with some rounded up and others rounded down.

The Republic of Ireland, which converted its road signs to metric a year ago, increased its 70mph motorway speed limit to 120km/h, or 75mph. The 60mph limit on single carriageway roads became 80km/h, or 50mph.

The association accuses the Department for Transport of exaggerating the costs of conversion to justify its failure to bring Britain into line with the rest of Europe.

The department asserted yesterday that it would cost £750 million to install new signs and £10 million to publicise the change. The association believes that it would cost only £80 million, or 0.27 per cent of the annual roads budget, if the investment and conversion were spread over five years.

The Irish experience supports the association’s estimate. Ireland spent £7 million on the switch, including £5.5 million to convert 59,000 signs. Most changes involved simply installing a new plate on an existing post. The average cost per sign was about £90, compared with the DfT estimate of £1,500.
Robin Paice, the chairman of the association, said: “We are appalled that the antimetric culture is so deep-rooted in the DfT that it resorts to inventing spurious figures to frighten people off before even considering the issue.”
In a foreword to the report, Lord Kinnock, the former Labour Party leader, accuses successive governments of ducking the issue, resulting in an “excruciatingly slow changeover to metric”.

He writes: “Our imperial road signs contradict the image of our country as a modern, multicultural, dynamic place.

“If the recommendations of this report are followed, Britain can join the modern metric world by the time that the all-metric Olympic Games open in London in 2012.”

Britain began the conversion to metric in 1965, when road signs were scheduled for conversion in 1973. However, officials advised that the deadline was unrealistic, and it was abandoned in 1970. A White Paper in 1972 said that the issue would have to be reconsidered in detail, “but not for some years”. Since then transport ministers have tended to argue that the changeover would be confusing for older drivers and could result in crashes.

But Ann Cody, the road safety official who oversaw the change in the Irish Republic, said that there had not been a single serious incident in the past 12 months. She said: “There were many scare stories before the switch, but the danger never materialised.”

A DfT spokesman said: “We don’t think there are any demonstrable benefits for making the change. Frankly, we have got better things to do with taxpayers’ money.”

He called back half an hour later and said: “I just wanted to reiterate that we have absolutely no plans whatsoever to do this.”

British building regulations are in metric, but estate agents use feet and inches

Draught beer is sold in pints, bottled beer and glasses of wine in millilitres

Cricket pitches are in yards, but rugby uses metres

Petrol is sold in litres, but fuel consumption is usually measured in miles per gallon, tyre pressure in pounds per square inch

Fruit and vegetables are sold in kilos in supermarkets, but many market stallholders use pounds and ounces

People measure themselves in feet and inches, and stones and pounds, but doctors use the metric system

Some newspapers tend to use Celsius to highlight cold weather, while preferring Fahrenheit to report a heatwave

In praise of ... the mile

Thursday February 23, 2006
The Guardian

In the Blair-Cameron era, the parties are converging. And now they are converting. Former Labour leader Lord Kinnock today combines with former Conservative deputy prime minister Lord Howe to launch an attack on the great British mile. Well, the great British and American and Liberian and Burmese mile, for ours are apparently the only countries to continue to retain the old measures for their road signs.

The two peers have joined a campaign to metricate road signs within five years, in time for the emphatically un-imperial Olympic Games. Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat leadership contender, is also a supporter of the campaign. (As yet the thoughts of his rival Sir Menzies Campbell, the former Olympic runner who once held the British record at 0.062 miles, remain unrecorded). Those fuddy-duddy road marks, says Lord Kinnock, contradict "the image - and the reality - of our country as a modern, multicultural, dynamic place".

But the ancient measure is very deeply lodged in the vernacular of this country. It is not necessary to involke the searing Eminem movie 13.54 kilometres, nor the awe-inspiring jazz trumpeting of Kilometres Davis, nor the fine Proclaimers' song I'm Gonna Be (804.67 kilometres), to argue that if we were the UK Metric Association, we wouldn't start from here. Is the image of cool Britannia so vital that we should alter history's description of Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run 1.6093km in four minutes, even - especially - in time for London 2012?

Kinnock backs metric road signs

Daily Mail
Thursday 23rd February 06

Former Labour leader Neil Kinnock has thrown his weight behind a report which says Britain could go metric with its road signs within five years.

Lord Kinnock says in an introduction to the report by the UK Metric Association (UKMA) that the continued use of miles in Britain was the "most obvious example of the muddle of measurement units" in the country.

The report says there would be many benefits from converting road signs to show kilometres, metres and km/h (kilometres per hour).

These would include drivers getting consistent information, easier calculation of fuel consumption and speed limits more finely tuned to local road conditions, it says.

But the AA said a changeover would take far longer than five years and the Department of Transport said it had no plans to convert.

Lord Kinnock says in the report: "Our imperial road signs are perhaps the most obvious example of the muddle of measurement units in the United Kingdom.

"They contradict the image - and the reality - of our country as a modern, multicultural, dynamic place where the past is valued and respected and the future is approached with creativity and confidence.

"If the recommendations of this report are followed, Britain can join the modern metric world - and do so by the time that the all-metric Olympic Games open in London in 2012."

In its report, the UKMA calls on the Government to name an early date for making the change, which it says can be done economically and safely.

The UKMA says that the conversion of road signs was originally intended to be part of metrication when it started in 1965 and should have been completed by 1973. However, it was put on hold in 1970 and then never reinstated.

The Association argues that this has left a system where most of Britain is officially metric leaving road signs as a "confusing" exception.

It concludes that, if spread over five years, the cost of the changeover would represent a mere 0.27 per cent of annual roads expenditure.

UKMA chairman Robin Paice said: "The Irish have shown how easily, safely, and economically it can be done. The British Government should just get on with it."

But the AA Motoring Trust said a "key flaw" in any planned conversion lay in the fact that speedometers still mainly measure miles per hour.

Paul Watters, head of roads and transport policy at the Trust, said: "A move to make UK road signs metric will take far longer than five years.

"Any precipitous changeover will create confusion, danger and anger, particularly where misunderstanding leads to prosecution for road traffic offences, such as speeding."

The Trust said one solution would be for metric and imperial measurements to run side-by-side for a number years until the public begins to "recognise and understand" both types.

But a spokeswoman for the Department for Transport said it had "absolutely no plans" to change the signs. "It would cost several millions of pounds and would be a waste of taxpayers' money," she said.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Parking Probe Urged

Sunderland Echo
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
By Paul James

Calls were made today for an emergency meeting to clear up arguments over Sunderland's parking ticket fiasco and speed bump row.

Opposition councillors, furious at the money and time that is going into correcting the mess, want full investigations by the Government and through a public inquiry.
Their demands come after chief executive Ged Fitzgerald admitted in a letter to campaigners that orders to make 20mph zones in the city had not been in place.
Captain David Green claims that lack of an appropriate order meant humps installed before 1996 should be classed as an obstruction in the highway and are therefore illegal under the Road Traffic Act.
The missing orders were uncovered by the council as it investigated the mistakes that led to thousands of parking fines being reimbursed.
Now Tory councillors have demanded the meeting to vote on a motion calling on council chief executive Ged Fitzgerald to set two investigations in motion.
They want to ask Transport Secretary Alistair Darling to make sure the city's
parking regime is watertight, and launch a public inquiry into the whole affair.
Conservative group leader, Coun Peter Wood, said: "We are calling for an extraordinary meeting of the city council to discuss the matter.
"Otherwise it won't be discussed by the council and won't get on to the council agenda.
"The internal audit report and the chief executive's report has been considered by the review committee and it's also been to cabinet, but it hasn't been to council.
"The only way at the moment there will be any mention on a council agenda of decriminalised parking enforcement will be in the district auditor's annual inspection, which is hardly a satisfactory way of doing it."
The motion, signed by all the Tory councillors, reads: "We, the undersigned members of the council, seek an extraordinary meeting of the city council - within the next seven days because of the urgency of the matter - to discuss the following resolution:
This council instructs the chief executive to request the Secretary of State for Transport
1. to ensure, as a matter of urgency, that the whole of the decriminalised parking enforcement scheme operating in Sunderland is currently legal,
2. to convene an appropriate independent public inquiry into the operation of the city's decriminalised parking scheme from inception up until the present time.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Metricate the roads ... get real!

To all,

The UK Metrication Association is about to release this...
'Road Signs to Go Metric in 5 Years?'
To read this latest piece of desperate metric propaganda click here . Our response is included.
Our press release will follow.
Meanwhile for those who wish to see how duplicitous the UKMA and its Chairman, Robin Paice, actually are please click here. and see British Weights and Measures Association, John Gardner's excellent expose.

Please visit www.neilherron.blogspot.com and www.thepeoplesnocampaign.co.uk


Neil Herron
0191 565 7143
07776 202045

Metric Road Signs on Royal Estate

Peter Hitchens
Mail on Sunday
19th February 2006

"Does Prince Charles know?

The Crown Estate, which operates the Royal property empire, has installed new speed-limit signs on Kensington Palace gardens - in kilometres per hour.
Officials claim, bizarrely, that this is because many of the diplomats on the road may not understand MPH.
They should be sent home, if so.
How can the poor dears cope when they are out driving anywhere else inBritain?
The British Weights and Measures Association says the signs are illegal and should be taken down. Other metric fanatics have tried to bring in these horrible new measures and then have been forced to remove them.
Perhaps a word from the Palace could avoid any further difficulties?"

Pass the Buck Darling ... Pressure mounts

Finally after some nine weeks we have a response from the Department for Transport regarding the questions raised about Sunderland City Council's Parking shambles, raised through Chris Mullin MP.

The questions were raised initially on 19th December 2005 and a reminder was posted on the website on 13th February 2006.
The response was signed by Karen Buck, Under Secretary of State, Department for Transport and not the Secretary of State, Alistair Darling.

An analysis (red) can be seen below:

1.To ask the Secretary of State for Transport:
‘What is the procedure is for revoking a Decriminalised Parking Enforcement Special Parking Area / Permitted Parking Area Order and what criteria or evidence would be required for the Secretary of State for Transport to initiate such a revocation?’
If a Special Parking Area / Permitted Parking Area (SPE / PPA) Order needed to be revoked this would entail the Secretary of State making a statutory instrument that would have to be laid in Parliament for 21 days. We would not wish to create an enforcement vacuum so it is likely that criteria would include who would be responsible for enforcing road traffic contraventions if the local authority was not.
Hasn't fully answered the question
Therefore the supplementary question now needs to be 'what evidence would be required in order to revoke the SPA /PPA and how and by whom would this procedure be initiated?'
As we have ample evidence, and full admissions that the lines, signs and TROs were not correct or in force at the time DPE commenced in Feb 2003 then it is clear that the DfT and the Secretary of State, along with Parliament, has been misled.
Who would need to initiate the action to begin the revocation? An individual complainant or the DfT itself?
There would no need to be an 'enforcement vacuum.' Control could revert back to the Police and Traffic Wardens. The Traffic Orders could be amended to take this into account listing the penalties and procedure with one simple Amendment Order.

2.To ask the Secretary of State for Transport:
‘What procedures are in place at the Department for to check the accuracy of statements made by a Local Authority within a Decriminalised Parking Enforcement application to the Department for Transport?’

3. To ask the Secretary of State for Transport:‘Who is responsible for checking the claims of a local authority in their Decriminalised Parking Enforcement application that their signs, lines and Traffic Regulation Orders are correct and in force before the commencement of Decriminalised Parking Enforcement?’
DPE applications are checked by the DfT staff to ensure that they comply with Local Authority Circular 1/95, as amended, which includes consulting the local police, regional government office, Council on TRibunals and Highways Agency.
Doesn't answer the question. There are no checks as to the accuracy or validity of the statements, claims and reassurances, especially with regard to the lines, signs and plates. There is complete acceptance of 'reassurances' given by officers of the local authority that they will all be correct and in force at the time DPE comes into force. Nobody checked that the TROs and signs didn't comply.

4. To ask the Secretary of State for Transport:
‘If it is the case, and can be shown to be the case, that the Secretary of State for Transport has been misinformed and/or misled into granting a Special Parking Area / Permitted Parking Area Order, what provision is there for reimbursing motorists wrongly levied with fines and what provision is there to provide compensation for motorists who have suffered losses at the hands of bailiffs?’
If PCNs are incorrectly issued, it is firstly for the issuing authority to cancel tickets whenever they are aware of such cases.
In the case of Sunderland they became aware in May 2005 that they were issuing tickets that did not conform to the Statutory Requirements. The City's legal department told NCP to chage them immediately. This wasn't done for some five months. Therefore, according to the DfT, now that the Council is aware that all these tickets, May to November / December 2005, were issued without the correct legal wording then they should ALL be refunded immediately, and any outstanding should be immediately cancelled. This has not been done.
The tickets issued with unlawful wording between Feb 3rd 2003 and May 2005 (when the Council was unaware that they were unlawful) should also be refunded.
For motorists that have their representations to the relevant council refused, there is an independent parking adjudicator body to which they can appeal.
The motorists at the point the ticket was issued would not have been aware that the council was acting unlawfully and therefore could not have used the illegal tickets as a defence. Now that the maladministartion has been highlighted it is not possible to go to the adjudicator. A small claims court action on each individual ticket with costs awarded against the council may be an avenue to proceed along, or a police complaint as the Council were fully aware that they were acting unlawfully and did not have the authority to demand the money in relation to any parking contravention.

5. To ask the Secretary of State for Transport:‘
What action, and by whom, could be taken against a Local Authority or Council Officers, should it be proven that they:-
(i) Submitted a Decriminalised Parking Enforcement application to the Department for Transport knowing that the enforcement regime would not or could not be in force legally because at the time DPE was due to commence there were numerous errors with regard to on-street signage and incorrect Traffic Regulation Orders?
(ii) Submitted a Decriminalised Parking Enforcement application to the Department for Transport but due to incompetence were unaware that there were numerous on-street signage errors and incorrect Traffic Regulation Orders?

6. To ask the Secretary of State for Transport:
‘What action, and by whom, could be taken against a Local Authority or Council Officers, should it be proven that they are continuing to allow Penalty Charge Notices to be issued knowing that aspects of the Decriminalised Parking Enforcement regime are unlawful?’

7. To ask the Secretary of State for Transport:
‘What are the financial and audit implications for a Local Authority found to have been issuing Penalty Charge Notices without the correct lawful authority and deriving income from unlawfully issued Penalty Charge Notices?’
The answers to these are conveniently lumped together.
Local authorities are accountable to their electorate and a Council that is seen to be acting improperly is open to the will of the public at each election.
As long as the matter is correctly reported by the local press and the impression not given that it is just a minor technical matter involving a couple of 'loopholes.' This is wholesale ineptitude and incompetence from hoghly paid council officials. Only then would the enormity of what has been done be able to be translted thorugh the ballot box.
In addition, individual PCNs can be taken to the adjudicator.
But how can an adjudicator decide on the lawlessness of the Sunderland regime if he refuses to accept evidence (as we offered) and does not see evidence (as Sunderland, in every instance where it appears that the unlawful regime will be exposed, refuses to present evidence to NPAS so the appellant wins by default).
Also, cases of perceived maladministration can be taken to the Local Government Ombudsman.
An avenue that is next to be pursued.
Local Authority accounts are audited by the Audit Commission. Under Section 17 of the Audit Commission Act, the auditor has a discretionary power to apply to the court if an item appears to the auditor to be contrary to law. On such an application, the court may make or refuse to make the declaration requested and can order rectification of the accounts. That item of account can be an item of income, expenditure, or a balance sheet item. So, in the case of deriving income from alleged unlawful penalty notices, the auditor could make an application to the court if that income appeared to the auditor to be contrary to law.
This is ongoing. However, it is down to how seriously the District Auditor considers the matter. If they consider that the PCNs are unlawful or unlawfully worded then there could be a cas. However, some money has already been set aside in order that the accounts can be signed off. A bigger problem is likely to happen with next years accounts if the Council do not refund the money from PCNs they knew to be unlawful.

8. To ask the Secretary of State for Transport:‘Could he please advise as to his view of the current status of the Declaration and Bill of Rights insomuch as the1991 Road Traffic Act appears to be unlawful and fails to expressly repeal, and therefore conflicts with the provisions of the Constitution.’
At the end of the day (I thought this was a footballer speaking and not a Government Minister) it is, of course, for the courts to interpret the law. However, the Department does not consider there to be any conflict between the 1689 Bill of Rights and the DPE system brought in by the 1991 Road Traffic Act. (Did I expect them to say anything other?)
Under the Road Traffic Act 1991 there is a statutory duty on DPE councils to consider and respond to representations against the imposition of a PCN. As already mentioned, there is a right of appeal to an independent tribunal (a parking adjudicator) against the issue of a PCN, if the council rejects the representations.
And this is where their next problem lies ... the adjudicator cannot be independent if he is funded by one of the parties involved in the dispute (60P PER every PCN issued), and representatives from the participating local authorities sit on the Joint Committee that oversees NPAS. Quite staggering really.
The scheme under the Road Traffic Act 1991 therefore provides a right to challenge a PCN and in our view is consistent with the 1689 Bill of Rights.
Thought they said it was up to the courts to interpret the law?

Department for Transport Response to Chris Mullin MP ... Sunderland's Dilemma

Monday, February 20, 2006

Road Signs to Go Metric in 5 years?

More hogwash from the UK Metrication? You decide and please leave some comments on this one. My commentary is in red.

The UKMA just cannot help trying to force their minority agenda down everyone's throats. They give the impression that they are a powerful, national body.
A question that will hopefully clarify their importance in the general scheme of things:
1. How many members do they have?
Let us hope that a journalists ask that one.

It is also nice to see, however, that favours have been called in from that great stalwart and defender of democracy, Neil Kinnock who gives them a wonderful quote. This is the same Neil Kinnock that bumped into me outside Westminster and said that the Metric Martyrs should never have been prosecuted and that we should be allowed a referendum on our relationship with the EU and that if we wished to leave then so be it. Now he wishes to see enforced metrication of all road signs.

Perhaps Mr. Kinnock would like to consider that if any political party wishes to go to the great expense of metricating all the road signs then they should put it in their next manifesto.

As for the 2012 Olympic Games being all metric ... wonderful. Who wins the most medals? The United States of America. Are they metric? I rest my case.

As for the legal implications and potential for litigation resulting from speedometers showing mph and signs showing km/h ... get real Neil. No education or information programme could be done in 5 years and the costs implications run into billions not millions.

It ain't gonna happen and that is what sticks in the craw of these avid europhiles and metrophiles who wish to see uniformity across the whole of Europe and despise our 'anomolous situation.'

By the way, when it comes to the truth, the behaviour of the UKMA leaves a lot to be desired. More will be revealed in advance of the release of their press release.

23 FEBRUARY 2006

Road signs to go metric in five years?
23 February 2006.

Britain's road signs could go metric within 5 years, according to a new report by the UK Metric Association.
The report shows that there would be many benefits from converting road signs to show kilometres, metres and km/h (kilometres per hour).
It calls on the Government to name an early date for making this change, which could be done economically and safely.
Neil Kinnock (former Labour leader) provides a Foreword to the report and comments:
"Our imperial road signs are perhaps the most obvious example of the muddle of measurement units in the United Kingdom. They contradict the image - and the reality - of our country as a modern, multicultural,dynamic place where the past is valued and respected and the future isapproached with creativity and confidence. If the recommendations of this report are followed, Britain can join the modern metric world - and do so by thetime that the all-metric Olympic Games open in London in 2012."

UKMA's report points out that, when the metrication programme began in1965, ( hardly a 'programme.' It was a written Parliamentary answer in May 1965, buried away in the back of Hansard, where Board of Trade officials, following representions from the FBI (now CBI) stated the Government was giving support to a 'gradual change' to the metric system. I suspect that this is a rather unusual and curious way to announce a change which would have the most profound effect on the life of everyone in the country).
it was originally intended to convert Britain's road signs in 1973.
However, this part of the plan was put on hold in 1970 and then never reinstated. Thus, although most of Britain is officially metric (e.g.price labels, school text books, building plans) our road signs are a major exception (along with the language and understanding of measurement)which forces British people to have to know and use two incompatible systems - metric and imperial - with all the confusion, mistakes, waste and incomprehension that results.
There is no incomprehension arising from the use of imperial signage or speeds on the roads. The only incomprehension would come from introducing a system of measurement that 72% of the population do not understand / are not familiar with. This statement by UKMA is so grossly misleading and reckless that it fails even to take into account of the potential carnage that could result from the misinterpretation of speed limits, especially that on motorways changing from 70 to 100, or on bridge heights solely marked in metric.

Britain is in fact the only advanced country in the world which does not authorise metric speed limit and distance signs. (Perhaps the USA is not an advanced country. I knew we shouldn't have gone to war alongside a backward nation).
Other reasons cited for making the change include:

  • drivers would get consistent information in one, single,easy system
  • They currently have that and there is no confusion. If they drive on the continent they are aware of the metric system and take that into account. Such drivers account for a fraction of the UK s 35m drivers. Vice versa applies to foreign motorists driving here.
  • greater efficiency for surveyors, map-makers, motor manufacturers and contractors
  • compare that questionable efficiency with the massive cost of education and conversion. It pales into insignificance.
  • easier calculation of fuel consumption
  • how many motorists work out and comprehend their fuel consumption in litres / km.? Even with petrol sales in litres everyone still talks in miles per gallon when relating to fuel consumption.
  • it could stimulate a review of whether current speed limits are safe
  • Are you honestly saying that this is not being discussed at the moment with the great speed camera debate?
  • speed limits more finely tuned to local road conditions
  • pardon? Are they currently just plucked from a tree? Perlease!
  • drivers visiting the UK could drive more safely
  • because they currently drive recklessly of course as all statistical analysis, of which there is none proves. What absolute bollocks and this is absolute desperation by UKMA. Let us hope that the press and media are not so gullible that they are taken in by this absolute hogwash. Please guys, ask Mr. Paice some difficult questions.
  • signposting would be compatible with Ordnance Survey maps.
  • But it would not be compatible with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 which is the legislative authority or the Highway Code.

Drawing on the experience of Australia in the 1970s and the Irish Republic last year, the report outlines principles for carrying out the conversion. It shows that fears about road safety are unfounded and calculates that, if spread over 5 years, the cost of the changeover would represent a mere 0.27% of annual roads expenditure.

The report concludes with a practical, costed 5-year plan.The report's authors recognise that there is some opposition (perhaps the understatement of the century) to completing the 41 year old metrication project, but they say that if the Government were to act decisively, they could well gain credit for persevering withits modernisation programme in the face of uninformed and irrational opposition. (I think that that should read well-informed, rational and totally honest as opposed to decetful, slippery duplicitous and illogicalc agenda of the UKMA)

UKMA Chairman, Robin Paice, commented: "Most senior politicians know perfectly well that the current position is unsustainable and that it would be in the national interest to complete the changeover to the metric system - including putting metres and kilometres on road signs - as soon as possible. The Irish have shown how easily, safely, and economically it can be done. The British Government should just get on with it."

No Mr. Paice. The Government should not 'just get on with it. They should propose it in a party political manifesto and clearly indicate their intentions. Then, if they are elected, they can begin the massive legislative programme that would be required which would require the absolute consent of Parliament ... something which has NEVER been done with any of the metrication agenda. I wonder why?

As for the Irish situation ... a click here and here will reveal how a small country with very few signs to be changed has made a mess. As somewhat of an expert now in uncovering problems that some UK local authorities are having with traffic signs and traffic orders then what you propose will undoubtedly descend into an absolute nightmare for everyone concerned.


Notes for editors:

(a) The UK Metric Association (UKMA) is an independent, non-party political, single issue pressure group which advocates the full adoption of the international metric system for all official, trade, legal, contractual and other purposes in the United Kingdom as soon as practicable. UKMA is financed entirely by membership subscriptions and personal donations.

(b) The UK has a "derogation" (opt out) from the EU Directive whichallows the Government to fix its own date for converting road signs. There has been no pressure from the Commission to fix this date, which is thus a matter for the British Government and Parliament to decide. However, Mr. Paice and the UKMA denied lobbying the European Commission. Read here how Mr. Paice has been rather economical with the truth. Some would say he has told a big, fat lie.

(c) Free electronic copies of the complete report and a range ofphotographs are available to bona fide journalists by e-mailingmailto:e-mailingsecretary@metric.org.uk. That's us ruled out then!

(d) From 01:00 on 23 February, a "press kit" will be available at http://www.ukma.org.uk/press/releases/msa/msaprkit.htm. This will include:

 downloadable photos

 downloadable versions of the Contents, Executive Summary, and Foreword by Neil Kinnock

(e) Further extensive background information can be found on UKMA'swebsite at http://www.ukma.org.uk/.

Specific items of interest are:

 Comparison between metrication in Britain and Australia http://www.ukma.org.uk/press/ausvuk.htm

 Comparison between Britain's decimal currency and metric conversions http://www.ukma.org.uk/press/decimalconv.htm

 Britain's current road signage mess and legislation http://www.ukma.org.uk/Transport/index.htm

The following are available for interview or comment:

For technical questions relating to the report:

* Robin Paice (Chairman) on 01301 702 317 or 07745 89 49 26 for interviews in Glasgow or by telephone (or e-mail robin.paice@ufcnet.net )

For comment on metrication generally:

* Lord Kinnock of Bedwellty on 020 7219 3000 (House of Lords switchboard))

* Lord Howe of Aberavon on 020 7219 8709 (direct line to PA)

* Roz Denny (Press Officer) on 020 7736 5383 or 0777 039 1581 for interviews in London or by telephone

For a proper balance and a view from the real world where the vast majority of the British population live contact Neil Herron on 0191 565 7143 or 07776 202045

Wallstrom urges propaganda in schools

At the launch earlier this month of EU Information Commissioner, Margot Wallstrom’s so-called White Paper on the EU's need to gather support for itself, at one point during her speech she called for
“more propaganda for children, to turn them into European citizens instead of national citizens”.

EU Flag. No plans to change guidance?

I thought that there were proposals to change the guidance underway...I wonder if Lord Davies has been correctly briefed?
I suggest he puts a call in to Prescott at the ODPM.

Feb 16th 2006 Lords Hansard.

EU: Flag

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will take steps to display the European Union flag alongside the British flag on more government buildings; and whether they will discuss such a proposal with the authorities in both Houses of Parliament and with the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. [HL3899]

Lord Davies of Oldham: The flag of the European Union is flown on Europe Day, 9 May, on all government buildings in England that have two or more flagpoles, provided it is flown alongside the union flag, with the union flag in a superior position. The number of flag-poles on government buildings is the responsibility of the individual departments. There are no plans at present to change this guidance.

But are we talking flags or flagpoles?

EU Flag
Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they have any proposals to legalise the flying of the European Union flag; if so, when these
20 Dec 2005 : Column WA251
proposals will be brought forward; and in what form. [HL2787]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Baroness Andrews): As previously announced the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will shortly be consulting on new draft Control of Advertisements Regulations which will include a provision to allow the EU flag to be flown without having to apply to the local authority for express consent. All national flags already benefit from this exemption. We expect the new Control of Advertisements Regulations to come into force in 2006.

Mayoral Referendum in Sunderland ... 10,615 and counting

It appears that the campaign to call for a referendum for a Directly Elected Mayor is underway and the Notice has been posted on the Sunderland City Council website.

Sunderland Echo Editor, Rob Lawson recently stated on Radio Newcastle that he believes that there is no demand and the newspaper will not be running any campaign.

I believe that because of the public disillusionment with the inept Labour run Council that the campaign for a referendum will gather a momentum of its own and the magic figure of 10,615 electors will be gathered in a very short space of time.

However, this may not be necessary if the ruling Labour group vote for the proposed motion in Council. But if they vote 'No' and the people then sign the petition wishing to have the referendum then they are going to have to play 'catch-up' with public opinion.

My view is 'Let the People Decide.'

After all, could an Independent Mayor with a Cabinet picked for ability rather than loyalty to a political party be any worse than the bunch that has ensured that Sunderland City Council is always in the headlines for all the wrong reasons?

Perhaps now the time has come to put Sunderland First!

Directly Elected Mayor
Please see the notice below for details of the number of signatures required on a petition seeking a Referendum for a Directly Elected Mayor


Notice is given in accordance with section 34 (2) (b) of the Local Government Act 2000 and Regulations 4 and 5 of the Local Authorities (Referendums) (Petitions and Directions) (England) Regulations 2001 (As Amended), that the number stated below is equal to 5% of the number of local government electors shown in the published Electoral Register for the Authority's area as at 15th February, 2006:

Verification Number: 10,615 Electors

The verification number published above will be used for verification purposes in relation to any Petition for a Directly Elected Mayor, presented to the Authority during the period of 12 months beginning with 1st April, 2006 until 31st March 2007.
(Where the verification number published between the 15th February and the 28th February 2007 is a lesser number, then that number shall be used for verification purposes in relation to any Petition presented to the Authority in the period beginning on the date of publication of the lesser number and ending immediately before 1st April 2007.)

DATED 20th February 2006

Sunday, February 19, 2006

NPAS Annual Report

The latest National Parking Adjudication Service Annual Report can be viewed here

Friday, February 17, 2006

Burnley Council ... formal letter incorporating the Bill of Rights, Magna Carta and the Human Rights Act

As we now begin to introduce the Human Rights perspective NPAS and DPE is looking very vulnerable indeed.
Legal Department
Burnley Borough Council
Town Hall
BB11 1JA

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing with regard concerning a Final Demand from Drakes Bailiffs, dated 14/2/06 (copy enclosed) for 2 unpaid parking penalty notices dated 1/2/05 and 19/5/05. The penalty notices are: BE******** and BE********. I can confirm that I wrote to Parkwise on the 11th July last year and contested the validity of these tickets as no individual company has the right to demand money from me for an alleged offence which has not been proven in a Court of Law.

As stated in the Bill of Rights Act 1689 enacted and formally entered into Statute following the Declaration of Rights 1689:

That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void.

As stated by Parkwise they do not issue fines but Penalty Charge Notices. However according to Burnley Borough Councils official website (Burnley.gov.uk), they do issue fines and is quite clearly listed in the A-Z of Council Services (copy enclosed). Therefore, it would appear that Burnley Borough Council and its agents (Parkwise) have no lawful authority to demand money for an alleged infringement that has not been dealt with by a Court of Law.

Of the Bill of Rights, I feel I must point out that the text of the Bill of Rights states clearly enough that no fines or forfeitures may be imposed before the process of judgment and conviction, and this text clearly indicates that a Court of Law is required to resolve disputes of any kind, either Civil or Criminal.

Because judgments are involved in the preamble to the Bill of Rights, as well as convictions. It is quite clear that only HM Courts have the legal authority to impose lawful judgments &/or convictions. Furthermore with the precise words of the Bill of Rights very much in mind, I must record with you that the provisions of the Bill of Rights cannot be satisfied by any process of appeal to anywhere other than HM Courts of Law!.
In a word The Declaration of Rights provides that if Burnley Borough Council wishes to proceed against me, they will have to refer this matter to Her Majesty's Courts Service where the issues must be resolved in a lawful manner. Otherwise, the forfeit demanded of me is illegal and void.

In addition to the provisions of the Declaration and Bill of Rights, and in support of my own assertion that this process is not constituted in accordance with our laws, I must ask you to recognise the Great Charter of Our Liberties that is now incorporated into Statute Law under the name of the Magna Carta. I draw your particular attention to the provisions made at Articles 39 & 40 of the Statute, which states as follows:-

39. No free man shall be arrested, or imprisoned, or deprived of his property, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed, nor shall we go against him or send against him, unless by legal judgement of his peers, or by the law of the land.

40. To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice.

There can be no doubt that I am a free man and that Articles 39 & 40 apply to me. It is clear & very well recorded that the entire purpose of Magna Carta was to reduce the power of the king and not to increase this power and in consequence of the very obvious, it is clear that the option of trial by the judgment of my peers OR by the law of the land is an option that is secured to me in all circumstances such as this, and not an option that may be exercised by or at the behest of the Crown, or by any authority that claims to hold an authority under the Crown.

E.g. the Local Authority with which I find myself in dispute.

In addition to the provisions of the Declaration and Bill of Rights, and the Magna Carta. I would like to draw your attention to the Human Rights Act 1998, and in particular to Article 6 (Right To A Fair Trail), and the provisions made in paragraph 1:-

1. In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgment shall be pronounced publicly but the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interest of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.

I have not as yet appealed to the National Parking Adjudication Service. The Independent Tribunal that receives 60p from every Penalty Notice issued, and is funded by the local authority collecting the PCN. The evidence of the now-recorded and public admissions of the National Parking and Adjudication Service now serves to reveal that the process of this tribunal system is being funded in part from the resources of my opponent, and this admission leads to the inevitable conclusion that any such hearing is not established in a manner that is independent from the interests of my opponent.

I am therefore requesting that Burnley Borough Council suspend the warrant from Drakes Bailiffs, as I intend to file a Late Statutory Declaration with the Traffic Enforcement Centre.

It is my intention to defend my case through the law courts of HM the Queen, as The Declaration of Rights 1689, the Magna Carta 1215, and the Human Rights Act 1998 provides I have an inalienable right to require that all and any legal actions undertaken against me, whether Civil or Criminal be heard and resolved by a Court of Law that operates in the name and for the purposes of the Queen.

That is why the Royal Coat of Arms is displayed in every Courtroom.

I look forward to hearing from you in this matter.

Yours Faithfully.

Neil Corless.

Now Burnley...Parkwise again.

Burnley Express
Disabled Driver's Bailiffs Fury

A COUPLE have furiously declared that Parkwise should be "run off the streets" after having to fork out almost £300 to bailiffs – for a ticket they claim they have never received.

On Wednesday morning, bailiffs turned up at the Coal Clough Lane home of Mr and Mrs Brian and Yvonne Campbell demanding £293.58 or property to that value.Fearing they would lose their furniture and electrical items, they borrowed the money to pay the fine, but Mr Campbell is adamant he did not receive the notice and is vowing to see a solicitor for advice.Mr Campbell, who drives a mobility car, says that, last year, he parked in a bay and displayed his disabled badge but when he returned to the vehicle a short time later, there was a plastic fixed penalty notice sleeve, but no ticket.
He said he and his wife looked around the car, but there was no ticket. They concluded that, having recently received a ticket and successfully appealed it, their friends had played a practical joke on them.

Mr Campbell says he then received a letter saying that the fine, which had gone up to £60, had not been paid and he telephoned Parkwise to explain the situation. "They just didn't want to know. The attitude was: you've done the crime now pay the fine," he fumed.It emerged that the ticket had been issued because Mr Campbell's blue clock was not displayed, even though, he says, disabled drivers can park in bays all day.

Parkwise claimed to have photographic evidence, but Mr Campbell has never seen it.A demand for £90 then arrived and Mr Campbell says he again telephoned Parkwise. From then until the bailiffs posted their notice on Tuesday, Mr Campbell says he received no word from Parkwise or the courts.
"Something needs to be done about them. Parkwise need to be run off the streets of Burnley. They are deliberately targeting disabled people and it's not right," he said.

A Burnley Council spokesman has said: "The ticket was issued in Ormerod Street on June 25th. A Notice to Owner was sent to Mr Campbell at his home address on July 29th alerting him to the fact the fine had not been paid and, as a result, had risen to £60. There was no contact from Mr Campbell and on September 9th another letter was sent saying the fine had gone up to £90, but again there was no contact from Mr Campbell."

Since then the matter has gone through the due process. He agreed that he had received the Notice to Owner, which makes it clear that if someone wants to argue the case, for example that they didn't know they had received a ticket, they should do so in writing. We have no record of Mr Campbell writing to Parkwise to put his case."
17 February 2006

EU Flag at Wear Vally DC...down for good.

At present Durham County Council are carrying out maintenance work in the vicinity of the flagpoles, the flags having been lowered until the work is complete. This is possibly for Health and Safety reasons as on a windy day they could have someone's eye out.

However, bang on cue, Jim Tague reports, he bumped into the "second-in-command", Councillor Charlie Kay, who when asked "how long is the EU party going to last?", replied by informing me that "the party is over, the EU flag will not fly when the flags return to the flagpoles".

He informed Jim to "keep it to himself."

He obviously had to tell me, as another concerned WVDC ratepayer and fellow campaigner.
Unfortunately I cannot keep it to myself.
If anyone wishes to ask Charlie for confirmation he does not have an e-mail address but you can e-mail first.stop@wearvalley.gov.uk and mark it for his attention.

Mum's Parking Misery

Mum's life a misery over parking of car
THE mum of a disabled teenager says heartless parking attendants are making her life a misery.

Read the full story here

NCP and Sunderland Council at it again. What sort of city do these people wish to run?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Calls for a Public Inquiry into the Sunderland Parking Shambles

BBC News reports today
10 Sunderland Councillors are requesting a public inquiry by the Secretary of State into the Sunderland City Council parking fiasco.
More to come as the news breaks.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

NPAS Submission - Payne v Mole Valley DC

Oral Submission to the Adjudicator.

NPAS 15 February 2005 12.15

Payne v MVDC

Submission of David Payne

Good morning Sir and thank you for your time (and for your explanation as to your own function at this hearing).

Before saying anything else, I must place on the record of this hearing that I am not content with this tribunal, because this hearing is not being held in full accordance with the provisions of our own most basic laws – or in accordance with the provisions of the Human Rights Act - all of which provide that my case must be judged by an independent tribunal.

The evidence of the now-recorded and public admissions of the National Parking and Adjudication Service now serves to reveal that the process of this present tribunal is being funded in part from the resources of my opponent – and this admission leads to the inevitable conclusion that this hearing is not established in a manner that is Independent from the interests of my opponent.

In addition, I must draw your attention to an Adjudicator’s Decision that was given in Case No SF 272 (Higgins v Sefton Borough Council) wherein the Adjudicator, a Mr Knapp, found that a defence based on the provisions of the Bill of Rights did not succeed, because (it was inferred) the High Court had already ruled on the legitimacy of cases analogous to the case of NPAS Tribunals – and had failed to raise the questions that Mr Higgins raised in support of his case –

In a word, Sir, the Adjudicator in the case of Mr Higgins said that because the High Court had not raised any questions about the legitimacy of the RTA 1991, when measured against the requirements of the Bill of Rights, then it was in order for him (the adjudicator) to ASSUME that the RTA 1991 was entirely lawful – in spite of clear evidence that a serious and far-reaching breach to the terms laid down in the Bill of Rights was in process!

With respect, I have to tell you, Sir, that the laws of our country may not be assumed by persons less than the Judges of HM High Court, and in conesquence of the most inadequate and untidy decision made by Mr Knapp, in the Appeal of Mr Higgins, I am bringing the evidence of The Bill of Rights and the evidence of the Sefton Decision right back to the NPAS Organization, by way of this present hearingl.

I must advise you, Sir, that the most exhaustive investigations have failed to establish that the High Court has ever ruled against the Bill of Rights Argument that I am now advancing on my own behalf - in any manner at all, such as has been suggested by the Sefton Adjudicator –

and I must tell you, Sir, that the Process of Investigation into the accuracy of the reasoning given in the Sefton Decision included letters addressed directly to the Director of NPAS, who failed to provide Case Law of any kind that would serve to support the statements made by the Adjudicator in the Sefton Case - In spite of many letters that were submitted to NPAS by concerned members of the public!

In addition to the Sefton Case, I must bring to you and to this hearing the Case of Robin de Crittenden –v- Worcester City Council (Case No WC 49), wherein it was suggested by an NPAS Adjudicator for the very first time that the Bill of Rights was intended only for the purpose of preserving to the Subject a Right of Challenge to the Crown -

And wherein it was suggested, for the very first time, that this right of challenge had been preserved by the right of appeal to the processes of NPAS and the tribunals that are assembled by NPAS –

In response to these most recent speculations on the reasons for the provisions
Of the Bill of Rights, I must respond by pointing out that The text of the Bill of Rights states clearly enough that no fines or forfeitures may be imposed before the process of judgment and conviction - and this text clearly indicates that a Court of Law is required to resolve disputes of any kind, either Civil or Criminal –

Because Judgments are involved in the preamble to the Bill of Rights, as well as Convictions and it is quite clear that only HM Courts have the legal authority to imposing lawful judgments &/or convictions -

AND with the precise words of the Bill of Rights very much in mind, I must record with you that the provisions of the Bill of Rights cannot be satisfied by any process of appeal to anywhere other than HM Courts of Law!.

In dealing with the former attempt by NPAS Adjudicators to defend their own functions and to defend the interest of those LocaAuthorities who are paying for
their services, I must introduce into evidence the Application for A Judicial Review that is now before the Administrative Court, in Case No WC 49 (de Crittenden – v- Worcester City Council).

You will see from the text of this application to the Administrative Court that Mr de Crittenden has asked the Court to set aside the new and unsubstantiated opinion that the Bill of Rights was intended only to provide a Right of Challenge to the Crown.

In addition, you will see that this Application for Judicial Review invites the Administrative Court to strike down the RTA 1991 - which is the sole authority for the existence of tribunals such as this present tribunal - on the grounds that the provisions of the Declaration & Bill of Rights may not be breached by anyone at all and/or by any Purported Act of Parliament.

In a nutshell, Sir, you will see for yourself that the Constitutional Status of the RTA 1991 is now under challenge because of the poor decisions made and the poor reasons given by adjudicators hearing cases that were previous to my own present case –

and I must ask you, Sir, to avoid the process of falling into the trap of placing reliance upon the questionable opinions of other adjudicators, when deciding upon the merits of all that I am saying to you myself, in connection with my own appeal.

In addition to the provisions of the Declaration and Bill of Rights, and in support of my own assertion that this tribunal is not constituted in accordance with our laws, I must ask you to accept into evidence the Great Charter of Our Liberties that is now Incorporated into Statute Law under the name of Magna Carta –

I am producing a Copy of the Statute for the record of this tribunal, and I draw your particular attention to the provisions made at Article 29 of the Statute, which states as follows:-

NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or
Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his peers or by the Law of the Land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.

There can be no doubt that I am a Free Man and that Article 29 applies to me.

It is clear & very well recorded that the entire purpose of Magna Carta was to reduce the power of the king and not to increase this power –

and in consequence of the very obvious, it is clear that the option of trial by the judgment of my peers OR by the law of the land is an option that is secured to me in all circumstances such as this - and not an option that may be exercised by or at the behest of the Crown, or by any authority that claims to hold an authority under the Crown. eg. the Local Authority with which I find myself in dispute..
Before proceeding further, I must call upon you to assemble a jury of my peers to decide upon the merits of my case – and I must record with you that if the RTA 1991 does not provide you with the authority necessary for you to assemble a jury of my peers to pass judgement on me, then I must ask you to advise my opponent that the Case against me may not be pursued because there is a basic failure within the provisions of the legislation that provides for any such pursuit.

It will be clear to you, Sir, that all failures to safeguard me against Oppression & Tyranny - as required by Our Common Law (by The Magna Carta of 1225), and as provided by the Statute now published as Magna Carta (which incorporates the Common Law Provision of the 1225 Magna Carta) - are flaws that may not be allowed to pass, if Liberty & Justice are to be preserved.

In Summary, Sir, I now enter all relevant documentation into the record of this tribunal – and for the purpose of removing all and any doubt about the case that I have presented to you - I now provide you with a full printed copy of my submission, with the copies of the documentation to which I have made reference.

NOTE – At this point hand the Adjudicator a file of the documents to which you have referred, with a printed copy of this present document, so that all references and evidence are provided for the record.

To Close my submission, Sir, I feel that I can do no less than invite you to decide
upon an adjournment to these proceedings, bearing in mind the provisions of the important laws that I rely upon and that are now before you. –

Bearing in mind also the most inadequate decisions that have been made by other adjudicators, in other case of appeal based upon the provisions of The Declaration and Bill of Rights.

I ask you to consider that there is now an approach made to the Administrative Court by way of an Application for a Judicial Review of those earlier decisions –

And It is my position that it is no light thing for you to take upon yourself any decision to set aside the provisions of Magna Carta andthe provisions of the Declaration & Bill of Rights –

I believe that it is in the interests of all concerned, yourself included, to leave all these matters in the hands of HM Judges, and I invite you to follow this line of Reasoning..

In the event that you make a decision to proceed with this present hearing, to some conclusion of your own, then I must advise you that I can take no further part in what is clearly an unlawful and ill-considered process.

Thank you, Sir, for the patience/consideration that you have shown towards

End of draft/

Looks like another batch of Parking Ticket refunds are on the way

Martin Macdonald
Traffic Management Division, 3/21Department for TransportGreat Minster House76 Marsham StreetLondon SW1P 4DR
Tel: 020 7944 2484
14th February 2006.

Dear Martin,
I have amassed information from most of the local authorities operating DPE regimes outside of London who have issued Penalty Charge Notices to vehicles parked on Taxi Ranks (Hackney Carriage Stands). A considerable number created their Taxi Ranks under the 1976 Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act but have not backed it up with a suitable TRO made under the 1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act.

1. Can you confirm that if a such a Taxi Rank (Hackney Carriage Stand) has been made, then it is unenforceable under Decriminalised Parking Enforcement powers unless it is backed up by a suitable Traffic Regulation Order made under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984?

2. Can you confirm that monies recovered by Local Authorities from PCNs issued erroneously in such circumstances should be refunded?

3. Can you confirm that the Department for Transport is looking to address this matter with corrective legislation? If so, by what date?

4. Can you confirm how and when this was first brought to your attention?

5. Do you have a comprehensive list of the number of Local Authorities involved in making such errors and the amount of unlawfully derived income they have received?

6. If a Local Authority has made such errors then what is the status of their Special Parking Area / Permitted Parking Area?

7. What procedural changes are the Department for Transport now making with regard to checking DPE applications, especially into the validity of their TROs?

8. What checks have been made previously by the DfT into the validity of Local Authorities TROs in any DPE applications submitted in advance of the Secretary of State granting the necessary SPA / PPA?

I intend to issue a press release at 10am Thursday 16th February, 2006 and would be grateful for a response, even a partial one on the substantive points, prior to that. I am aware of the contents of the e-mail sent in response to a similar query by Wayne Pendle.

I would also be grateful for confirmation of receipt of this e-mail.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Herron
The People's No Campaign / Metric Martyrs Campaign
12 Frederick Street
0191 565 7143
07776 202045

ps. I am still awaiting a response from a colleague of yours, Clint D' Souza, with regard to clarification of the legislation with regard to PCNs issued to Blue Badge Holders parked in Loading Bays. I have copied him into this communication for information.

cc. Owen Paterson MP Shadow Minister of State for Transport
cc. Paul Rowen MP Liberal Democrat Transport spokesman
cc. Clint D' Souza, Department for Transport.

1. Hackney Carriage orders are made under the 1976 Act, they enable taxis
to stop in designated areas and PLY for hire. Traffic signs are as in
accordance with the RTRA (currently 1984)The offence of stopping in a hackney stand is enforceable by a police officer (not a traffic warden nor a parking attendant)

2. A TRO is made under the RTRA (currently 1984) this order can either restrict the stopping or waiting except taxis. It does not permit the PLYING for hire, this is outside of the regime of the RTRA( being in the 1976 Act)This offence is enforceable by police, traffic wardens and parking attendants

3. There is no legal reason why both types of order cannot be in force simultaneously

4. The traffic signing is interesting, up until 1994 then the only available signage was the 'no stopping on carriageway' (the clearway sign) with a small plate 'except taxis'In 1994 yellow upright signs were introduced and the previous cleaway sign was discontinued, but could remain in use if placed on the highway prior to 1994 until 1st January 2005.

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