back to article UK gov announces Road Pricing 2.0 - Managed Motorway

The UK government has announced its plans for the national road network in coming years, assigning funding for a variety of different projects. Transport Minister Ruth Kelly has also published plans for a future of "managed motorways", which will require "a high level of monitoring and compliance to make the package work". "I …

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  1. simon
    Coat

    More money and spying!

    Woohoo, another chance for the man to get you in the wallet and track you at the same time,aint the UK great! im glad i live here arent you,where everything is safe and rosey, crime rates are down due to the number of CCTV camers and intrusion into our lives and its getting cheaper by the day to live and everyone can afford to get on the housing market, eeerrrrrrrr hold on a minute, that isnt quite right is it!

    the uk is well and truly screwed and the man is just twisting it a little tighter by the day,

    im getting me coat because its time to feck of me thinks!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Right, That's it

    The government are currently trying to, or are actually:

    Watching where we go on CCTV

    Monitoring what we say near CCTV cameras with microphones

    Instructing us how to behave near CCTV cameras with speakers

    Monitor our email, txts, phone calls

    Some of our car journeys with ANPR

    Specify which consentual porn is ok to watch

    Make ownership of combinations of household chemicals illigal

    Allowing almost anyone to monitor us (RIPA)

    ID Cards

    The largest DNA database in the world

    Being incompetent at most of the above

    Allowing Police to stop us, without reason and demand we account for ourselfs

    (Feel free to add to this list)

    They now want to monitor all the rest of the car journeys that we take.

    Where are the crowds of people protesting about this, I want to join them, I can't just be angry about it any more.

  3. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

    Democracy

    So on the next ballot paper is there going to be an option to suggest having this lot burnt at the stake?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    two-tier... "John Lewis list" extended to roads.

    "In all fairness, the government does seem willing to have a two-tier motorway system, not a compulsory e-surveillance panopticon"

    Er, sort of.

    Tier 1: not tagged, but subject to severe congestion, punitive road tax

    Tier2: tagged, pay small fee for privilege.

    Watch as tier1 becomes more and more expensive, till the choice only exists for the wealthy or those on govt expense regimes. Meanwhile the proletarian masses are in an Orwellian dystopia....

  5. Perpetual Cyclist
    Alert

    Congestion will soon be solved nationwide.

    Because we will not be able to afford to drive. The world supply of oil has peaked, and we are as a nation increasingly being outbid by the likes of China, for petrol and diesel. Already in the US (which is more price sensitive because of lower tax) some reports are of 5% drop in demand for fuel year on year. That must equate to a combination of fewer miles and lower speeds, and to a small extent smaller cars being driven. It is only a matter of time (and price) before we see the same effect and greater here. Any money now spent on expanding capacity on the UK road network will be money down the drain.

    One side effect of the oil supply constraint, is a growing shortage of tar for asphalt. More of each barrel of oil is now converted into fuel fractions. Soon we won't be able to keep our existing road network patched up, and we will need to seriously consider closing lanes and abandoning little used roads.

  6. Joe
    Paris Hilton

    The heady ideals of socialism

    Let me get this straight. The Labour government want to introduce a road network that allows the wealthy to get where they're going on time via the toll lanes, but would leave the poorer drivers unable to pay the toll charges on top of fuel duty etc sitting in a traffic jam. The same poorer drivers who have to drive because they can't afford the exorbitant prices for "public" transport (~£50 from Northampton to Bristol by train, less than £20 by car).

    Whatever happened to giving everyone an equal opportunity?

    Paris, because you don't need to pay a toll to get in to her high-occupancy lane...

  7. jai

    meh

    i've no objection to paying a bit to use the road if it means there's no idiots in front slowing everyone up

    they should have the system for the normal lanes where speed limits are reduced to 50mph in high conjestion, but there should also be a fast, toll lane where the speed limit is 90mph

  8. Ian Rogers
    Thumb Down

    barcode on the forehead at birth

    Good Gods this government is obsessed with monitoring and tagging the populace (while being willfully ignorant of how easy it is for the non-law-abiding to avoid detection)!

    £6Billion invested in railways and other public transport would be far more effective than closing hard shoulders (hmm, let's cut off access to emergency vehicles just when the traffic's at its peak - smart) but, obviously, wouldn't allow them to shoe-horn in ID cards at a later date...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no title>

    Well here is one motorist who doesn't accept a rationale for high levels of monitoring. And is rather suspicious about the compliance bit too, depending on how strict they are on enforcing bans on perfectly reasonable behaviour. In fact I need to be convinced of any automated level of monitoring. If the odd hothead needs stopping, then that's what the cops sitting in their car is for.

    I find it difficult to believe I am the only one, and hope it is unlikely I'm in the minority.

  10. TeeCee Gold badge

    Fraud.

    I see. So the ANPR cameras can't handle bent plates. Nothing new there apart from the implied fact that their byzantine "who can issue a plate to who" legislation has proved to be the useless pile of needless bureaucratic shite we all thought it would be.

    Now, I hate to piss on their picnic* but I don't see anything that solves this in their proposals. If a car not equipped with their fancy tracking gadget uses a lane designated for those with, exactly what mechanism is going to identify the miscreant vehicle and issue the fine?.................................oops.

    The Department of Transport. Idiotic ideas brought to you by complete fuckwits.

    *not really, just let me know where it is and I'll turn up with a full bladder.

  11. JohnG Silver badge

    Alternatively, they could spend the money extorted from motorists...

    ...building or improving the roads and providing viable public transport. Of course, this would reduce the cash available for MP's pay rises, expenses and committees filled with MP's relatives and mates.

  12. N Silver badge

    Time to go...

    and live elsewhere

  13. Sam

    too easy?

    Improve communications to the point where we don't have to commute?

    Why drive x miles to talk down a phone and tap at a keyboard when you don't have to?

    How many people really have to have a physical presence in a particular location for their job?

  14. darren

    two tier road and the NHS

    So it's OK to have a two tier road system, where we all pay our share - but can top up for a more deluxe service if we can afford it; just to get from A to B. But wow betide anyone who is dying, sells there house to supplement their NHS treatment - 'cos that would be just totally out of order - u must die to keep it fair! Bloody joke.

  15. mark houghton
    Paris Hilton

    6 Billion from where

    How about spending road tax money to get the roads into good shape rather than on crap like this, just means more cameras and traffic wombles watching said cameras.

    Plus where is this 6 billion coming from, has gordon left his spending money lying around.

    Paris coz she's had 6 billion people at once

  16. Dan
    Flame

    and the beast duly resurfaces...

    I thought the government had gone suspiciously quiet on this subject. It's not that easy, in a tech sense, to detect multiple occupants in cars, so expect an awful lot of very intrusive gadgets for this.

    As for congestion, try removing all the congestion-causing schemes for a start. I note that the current Manchester congestion-charging PR sidesteps this: Chris Bisson (most of the pro-charge voices are actually actors) notes that journeys are taking longer than a few years ago. Correct. What he doesn't say is that traffic levels have increased. That's because they have, in fact, decreased, according to the official data. He merely leaves you to infer that traffic levels must have increased, rather than helping you to arrive at the correct but shocking conclusion that traffic has dropped, but journey times have risen - hmmm, might have something to do with the rabid road planning that is causing all the traffic jams. Bastards.

  17. Tony W

    Over the top

    Increased traffic throughput by lowered speed limits works. And when it works, the road is full with traffic moving at the speed limit, as we experience now with existing road works schemes. There is very good compliance with the speed limit as there is very little opportunity to go faster. If you can go significantly faster, then the road is not full and the speed limit is too low.

    The need for surveillance only arises if you want to use the system to enforce speed limits when the road is not full, to improve safety. I believe in enforcing speed limits, but this is nothing to do with increasing road capacity. Of course if the majority of drivers obeyed the law, there would be very much less justification for any of these proposals.

  18. Alexis Vallance
    Go

    Pluses and minuses

    The scheme of opening up the hard shoulder seemed good, until I actually drove on the M42. There are hidden speed cameras behind every gantry. And the gantries are about half a mile apart.

    It was like watching a light show with the the number of flashes going off on the other carriageway.

    Great for cutting congestion at peak times perhaps. Not so for anyone wanting to drive beyond the 70mph limit, which probably seemed like the speed of sound when people drove Morris Minors that took a mile to perform an emergency stop.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Mike Richards Silver badge

    £6 billion?

    Where's this money suddenly come from? The government is flat broke and another huge wodge of cash comes along all of a sudden. It'd be nice to see this sort of money being promised to build the high speed train links we're going to need RSN if the rail network isn't to grind to a complete halt.

  21. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    What is the problem that needs fixing?

    Speed limits during busy periods and using the hard shoulder increase throughput until demand exceeds the capacity of such strategies. It does not reduce the amount that people need to travel, or increase distance a person can travel per litre of fuel.

    Pricing people off the roads does encourage car sharing, which would increase km/person/litre. Legalising running buses on popular routes would have the same effect and would cause less backlash from voters. Some jobs can be done just as well from home - with a good internet connection - reducing the need to travel.

    "Devices using the Global Positioning System could be used in the future ..."

    With selective availability turned off, GPS is accurate to 30m 95% of the time (100m with selective availability on). Differential GPS gets you accurate to 10m, but requires receiving a radio signal that continuously reports the current errors in the GPS signal. The only reason your satnav shows you are on a road is because it assumes you are on a road. If you walk through a park, a satnav will say you are on the nearest road until you are about 100m from any road. There is no way that GPS will be able to tell you which lane you are in, and you would need to add a radio transmitter to tell a road pricing system where you are. That radio transmitter alone can tell a road pricing system if you are in the wrong lane without a GPS.

    Detecting if a car in a specific lane has a paid up tag does not require sending ID numbers back to a control centre. On the other hand a system capable of sending a photograph of a car without a valid tag to a control centre is also capable of sending the ID's of all valid tags back to a control centre. Given politician's outstanding reputation for honesty and competance, dozens of people will be convinced that data from a road pricing system will not be left on a flash drive in a train every month.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Or

    How about starting a national program of building railway tracks in the central reservation of current motorways. Stations can be built at existing off ramps and buses can complete the journey to town centres and Ind. estates. The daily rush hours would see the trains carrying people only, while during off peak times the trains could carry cargo and passengers. Electrify the network, to increase efficiency and keep pollution control in more manageable locations.

    The private car is the problem, not the congestion. Trying to regulate car use by raising prices is like trying to cut cigarette smoking by raising prices. It won't work because the drivers (smokers) are addicted. And it's not in the governments financial interests to have less drivers. Less drivers means less cars, means less jobs, means less income from fuel duty, less income from tax whether that's VAT or PAYE. The whole infrastructure of this country is dependent on the private car continuing to flourish and be replaced. Just take a drive around Bristol (Avonmouth) or Southampton docks, or Felixstowe docks. The number of brand new cars lined up is disgusting. And no, not all of them are for export.

    And in the meantime, I am to be forced to buy a new vehicle because my car tax will shoot up by 50% otherwise. My 1992 ford sierra* does 45 MPG, and has less emissions than many newer vehicles, but because it was manufactured before 2001, it is classed as undesirable. How much co2 will be "saved" by scrapping it and buying a new vehicle ?

    No, the intention is to keep the factories churning out new cars to satisfy the govt. mandated revenue stream. The benefits of buying the latest and greatest Astra TDFI, Twin Turbo, blacked out windowed, mobile sound system, capable of 150 mph seem much reduced when you're stuck in the same jam on the M4 as you were in last years model, but now you've signed up for another 3 year finance deal ... Ooops.

    Just say NO !

    Find a way to reduce or eliminate your car use, and escape this manufactured slide into gridlock.

    *Yes, I have a car, but I only use it twice a week, to do around 16 miles in total. I am looking for a way to do without it altogether, so I am not about to scrap it and buy new. I have to carry a large amount of equipment to work and back, and usually at times when bus drivers are still in bed, so I really do have no alternative - as yet.

  23. Colin Millar
    Black Helicopters

    Equipment on the car?

    They require the car to be equipped? and GPS tracked?

    M6 tag sits in the windscreen and gets read by roadside equipment.

    Whats more - no privacy issues - the tag activity is only available to the account holder.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So....

    The government takes more money off us again. Car tax already covers more than the costs of the roads.

    They don't bother to build enough roads, a game they can play (other countries manage better) and then look to blame someone else for their lack of investment.

    Incidently I notice that higher average speeds can be maintained without bunching. In general I notice the fast lane suffers most as people sit too close and panic brake and then accelerate hard. The slow lane often does better as people slow to 50 or 60 and use the gaps to take up the slack.

    I just love the way the government always blames the people and never itself! They did it with the NHS, it's your fault, they said, you don't use the service properly etc. etc.

  25. A J Stiles
    Flame

    Passive Accepting Sheep again

    Why is there not a political party standing up for the interests of the motorist? Here are some thoughts .....

    * Recognise generally as a matter of policy that the motor car is no longer a luxury item used only by a minority of the population, but has become a necessity for the majority of the population.

    * Recognise Articles 9 - 12 of the UNUDHR, and immediately scrap any laws actually or potentially conflicting with same. As far as possible without conflicting with Article 11 (2) discontinue without prejudice any pending prosecutions in respect of acts which are no longer criminal offences.

    * Abolish vehicle excise duty (the tax disc) -- then it'd be impossible to drive an untaxed car and there would be no need for SORNs.

    * Nationalise "act only" motor insurance and pay for it via increased NI contributions -- then it'd be impossible to drive without insurance. The consequent drop in premiums would compensate for the increased tax bill.

    * Make it illegal for anyone to charge money for parking on private land, unless they are willing to accept responsibility for vehicles and their contents while parked there. Car parking fees would go up, but motorists' insurance premiums would come down.

    * Comprehensively review speed limits -- reduce in densely-populated areas, increase almost everywhere else.

    * Allow any vehicle with three or more occupants to use bus lanes.

    * Scrap all road-charging proposals and pass legislation which would require another Act of Parliament before any such could be reconsidered in future.

    * Zero duty on all non-fossil fuels, including biofuels and any fuel made from waste products.

    * No CO2 emissions testing requirements for any vehicle powered only by non-fossil fuel (and therefore not introducing any -new- CO2 into the atmosphere).

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    ANPR

    You've missed the point. Speed Cameras using ANPR have been widely used across the UK for some time now to ensure that traffic adheres to speed limit around roadworks. They work because they calculate average speed, so you don't get the "speed up, oh wait there's a camera slow down effect". It's the only system for maintaining speed limits that actually works. I'm sure, we've all noticed that.

    Unfortunately though:

    Conspiracy Theorists + ANPR(Teh interwebs + Pub) = Invasion of privacy

    ..so it's unlikely it'll every get off the ground. Which is unfortunate because it costs buttons.

    (BTW: MI5/Police/Masons/illuminati/whoever actually couldn't give a monkey's that you are doing a flyer on works time to visit the tin foil hat shop. No really, they don't. Trust me, I'm a doctor)

  27. breakfast
    Stop

    Way to solve the wrong problem, guys

    Good to hear the government are finding ways to increase the capacity of the roads they are taxing us off.

    What would be even better would be for them to sort out some other ways of getting around the place so that when the combination of rising fuel prices ( and lets face it they'll only keep rising ) and rising fuel taxes actually stops us being able to drive so much there will still be ways for those of us living outside of major cities to get from A to B. In the ten miles between the town where I live and the one where I work there is no direct rail link, very few if any busses and a only badly signposted and circuitous cycle route that is easy to find on the map but not so great on the ground. It's a 15 minute drive and well over an hour by any other means of transport. It doesn't seem to me like it would be so hard to sort out at least one of those, rather than constantly investing in roads that will increasingly become the property of the elite.

    If we're around the oil peak now then it stands to reason we're probably at the road-usage peak as well and the decline of one will be tied to the decline of the other.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And yet ...

    If motorway pricing was introduced, it might deter people from using the motorways for short journeys. Case in point being people who have discovered that it's quicker to jump on the motorway for 1 stop than to drive through a town or city. A significant number of accidents are caused by these people, hitting the motorway at 45 to 50 mph, not getting any faster, then leaving at the next exit. Usually, they all travel at about 4 feet from the car in front, and see it as their right to pull out of the slip road in a procession of 5 or 6 cars , even if there is no space to pull into. Existing traffic has to brake, some people swerve into another lane, and the git doing 95 in the outside lane has to do some quick thinking, which by nature of being a git means they usually hit something.

    So gits to the left of me, and gits to the right. Is there any chance of just doing it right for all our sakes ?

  29. William Old
    Flame

    Ruth Kelly and "Spot the police officer"

    From 5.25 in the paper:

    "Traffic policing is a clearly recognised strand of policing activity... We will therefore work with the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers to identify the most appropriate way to enable additional police resource to be provided for motorway traffic enforcement purposes where that proves necessary, possibly through developing a new standard ‘framework’ agreement."

    They can develop whatever new agreement they want, it's already too late to try to return more police officers to motorways. The creation of regional motorway policing groups (such as in the North-West - see http://www.wigantoday.net/latest-north-west-news/Police-reveal-plans-for-joint.4262008.jp) is in part due to the fact that individual force motorway units have been repeatedly downsized until they were no longer individually viable - the development of the Highways Agency Traffic Officer (HATO) Service was part of the Government's strategic plan to reduce the bill for policing (their own official figures show 647 fewer police officers at the last count - see http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs08/hosb0208.pdf).

    Put together with the deskilling of officers through civilianisation, the loss of over 40% of the current Police Service through retirement before the 2012 Olympics, and the admission that there won't be enough firearms officers, qualified search team officers, or protection officers for 2012 even if every single one of these across the entire UK was so deployed (which in itself isn't practical), and you will realise why Ruth Kelly has been badly advised over this - "managed motorways" will have to "manage" without more police officers.

    HATOs will be undertaking "policing" and speed enforcement on motorways and arterial roads within 3 or 4 years, because there won't be any alternative.

  30. Danny Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Country going to the dogs?

    I, for one, welcome our new bureaucratic overlords.

    Paris, cause she likes it doggy.

  31. Rob
    Paris Hilton

    well i never

    that first premise doesn't seem to make any sense, he says cars on roads are the biggest problem roads have, well what the hell does he think roads are for if not for cars to move about on??

    Paris, she's crying because Guy Fawkes failed.

  32. Stephane Mabille

    Public transport

    Would providing an alternative a good way to remove some cars from the road?

    Anything better than 1960s trains on a 1950s network (the last major investment in new tracks, beside Eurostar HS1), with tighter SLA than "anything within 1 or 2 hours of advertised time is totally OK", even some available seats, and if possible competitive with car use price... I mean anything as 20% good as any train service in Europe ?

  33. Ted Treen
    Dead Vulture

    Kelly's Hero...

    All your monies are belong to us.

    NuLab 2008

  34. Rob Briggs
    Stop

    @Lewis

    I have to disagree about the primary cause of reduced congestion that you postulate for the hard shoulder schemes. I'm a frequent traveller on the first of these (the M42 in the vicinity of B'ham airport and the NEC) and from my experience the benefit seems to come from the early segregation of traffic leaving at the next exit and joining in a disciplined lane distinct from the existing flow. Of course, temporary reduced limits to help (M25 M3-M40 section) but these still get hideously congested (understatement of the year) if too much traffic is joining in too-wide a funnel.

    And for my next trick I will solve the credit crisis whilst standing on one leg and whistling "Yankee Doodle Dandee".

    STOP: becuase that's what happens on the motorways

  35. Steve Foster

    Congestion Control

    An obvious way to manage congestion on the motorways is to have some sort of pro-active slip road control - ie don't let more traffic join the motorway when it's already full. Of course, this means redesigning all the junctions to incorporate space for said access control, and putting up decent signage on the approaches to indicate the current state of access to the motorway.

    They could start with trials of signs showing the amount of traffic on the M25 at a good number of M25 junctions and their approaches, and see what effect they have on the number of drivers joining at those junctions.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    I've awoken in hell

    Met SO15 - the UK's secret terror police.

    Making the secret police look like the good old days.

  37. Tim Brown
    Black Helicopters

    You WILL comply

    There's something about the words 'monitoring and compliance' when uttered by this government that send chills down my spine.

  38. Tom Crask
    Paris Hilton

    Choice choice choice

    Aside from the big brother implications of this tale of governMENTAL woe, that first paragraph sticks in my craw.

    "...giving motorists a choice about how they make their journeys."

    I don't want choice, I don't want to chose between 4 equally dismal services. I just want one that works when I need it to.

    Paris, as even the French know how to build a road system, including tolls without resorting to technological w*nkery.

  39. Tawakalna
    Stop

    b*ll*x..

    "giving motorists a choice about how they make their journeys"

    there's that word again - *choice* just like the *choice* that we have for schools or hospitals i.e. none at all. And another opportunity to screw and monitor the hapless motorist (not necessarily in that order)

  40. Gulfie
    Flame

    Buy shares in speed camera manufacturers

    So... the solution is to fit speed cameras to every mile of every even vaguely busy motorway (or maybe every mile of every motorway), thus depriving us of our privacy. Why not keep the data in the same place as all that phone call, email and web browsing data that the government is planning to keep? Add in our passoport details and a link to the NHS IT systems and call it a national identity register!

    Why not become the most surveilled nation in the world and have it sold to you as 'measures to keep traffic flowing'. What happened to the integrated transport policy that Labour made such a big thing of in the late 1990s and why are we doing the exact opposite to the rest of Europe - allowing rail travel to become more and more expensive even though it is the greenest form of transport.

    Strategy. Just a word beginning with 'S' and definitely not to be used by anyone in the government after the word 'Transport'. How dumb does it get?

  41. Mick Sheppard

    HOT lanes work on wide roads

    How is having a HOT lane going to work on roads that only have three lanes? Unless you are prepared to pay you are going to be going at a maximum of 56 mph as lorries over take one another in the other lanes.

    What is needed is a real, joined up, look at transport in the country. It won't happen thought because it needs vision and will cost money. Instead the government will dabble and try and force people to comply by wielding a big stick.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Calling it

    > it might be more honest to call this "optional road pricing and degree of surveillance"

    One might call it nu labour's latest fanatasy of a 1000 year Reich, but I prefer to call it banging another nail into its own coffin.

  43. James Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Here's an idea...

    Why not try and persuade people to actually give up their cars and use public transport instead? Perhaps preventing transport companies from ripping people off with rediculously high prices during rush hour might be a start. (Crazy idea, I know.)

    Admittedly that might have been easier if there still was a usable public transport system in the UK.

    Paris, because she likes riding in public.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EU road-pricing

    It was bound to rise from the dead - road-pricing is part of EU agreement

  45. Paul Stephenson

    Pay-As-You-Drive?

    Would the toll option potentially come with lower or no road tax, so you PAYD?

    At least this might see the 'BMW' lane disappear and be available to all as all the 'important' businessmen move to the toll lanes thus freeing up more road space for those still on the congested old system :)

  46. Harry Stottle

    The Difference between Surveillance and Tracking

    is the difference between reasonable Law and Order and Totalitarian control.

    Punters get upset when they read about talking CCTV in Middlesbrough, but they're actually an appropriate use of the technology. They let people know, in a public place, that their actions are visible and that, if they commit antisocial behaviour, those actions have been recorded. They then have the option of ceasing to behave antisocially or face the consequences. Crucially, the surveillance has no way of identifying the watched and - unless they move from talking to listening, they present only a minimal breach of privacy. In addition, it actually prevents trivial crimes and petty nuisance and, as such, is largely welcomed by the natives.

    ANPR is a whole different kettle of fish. With that, anyone with access to the data (and that, currently, is probably a few thousand people) can't just watch what's happening in a given area but can identify who they are watching. Not only that, they can ask questions of the data like "Where was that car an hour ago?" (or "last thursday" etc) and so on.

    One of the advantages to an attacker of knowing where you are is that they also immediately know where you aren't. So if, for example, the attacker wants access to your home for reasons of theft (of goods or data) or to plant close surveillance devices, then knowing that you're out and about is a pretty serious advantage.

    Permitting the State to monitor its citizens to this extent is the most dangerous and ignorant mistake the citizenry can make. Even if the current incompetent incumbents are not inclined to abuse such powers to the extent of the nightmare totalitarians we frighten small children with, merely allowing such an infrastructure to be built massively increases the chances that such a regime will arise and find a warm welcoming environment ready made to accommodate and empower it.

    The question is - how do we make our ignorant fellow citizens aware of the potential dangers and, in particular, the crucial difference between anonymous watching and targeted tracking.

    Clearly the government strategy at the moment is to bombard us with more and more cases for targeted tracking, which will, coincidentally, make it all the more necessary for us to be able to prove our identity with their trackable ID Cards.

    If you're interested in exploring the alternatives to their draconian proposals, please pop along to http://www.fullmoon.nu/book/side_issues/IdentityCards.htm

  47. RRRoamer

    What's REALLY going on...

    I've seen the secrete papers. What they REALLY plan on doing is forcing all of you to get a GPS tracking system installed in your bum. Any time you move faster than 5 mph, the presumed top speed of a person with GPS receiver in his/her arse, you will get billed for it.

    They still haven't worked out how to deal with false charges caused by excessively powerful bowel movements, but they are diligently researching this slippery problem!

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @: OR Alan

    "And in the meantime, I am to be forced to buy a new vehicle because my car tax will shoot up by 50% otherwise. My 1992 ford sierra* does 45 MPG, and has less emissions than many newer vehicles, but because it was manufactured before 2001, it is classed as undesirable. How much co2 will be "saved" by scrapping it and buying a new vehicle ?"

    I think you may have misunderstood the changes to the road tax - these terribly awful, unfair, evil etc increases only apply to cars built AFTER 2001. The cars built and registered BEFORE 2001 are not being buggered about with. Your tax on your Sierra won't be changed.

    *Sits happily in 1998 BMW*

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thinking Laterally

    How about employing people to drive three abreast at an appropriate speed down the motorway at peak times in efficient small cars suitably marked so that other drivers know it's illegal to pass them (enforced by a call to mr plod with a picture of the offender if anyone does overtake). Cheap to implement, reasonably cheap to run, non invasive and provides employment (albeit not employment that I'd want). You could probably reduce it to one car once people had got used to it.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Dogma failure strikes again

    The argument goes that if you build more roads the traffic will increase until they're full again. So if you increase the capacity of the existing roads, won't exactly the same thing happen? Either the argument is flawed or this proposal is flawed. Quite possibly both.

    If you accept this "potentially infinite" growth of traffic argument, people will travel until the cost, or the inconvenience of congestion, exceeds their tolerance level. To reduce traffic, you would have to make it even less agreeable to travel. Not a good vote winner for a government on the slide.

    Personally, I don't accept the argument. There's only so much traveling I want to do and I expect most people are the same. There's a minimum that's essential for getting to work, shopping, etc. Then there's a certain amount of leisure use of a car. But beyond that, I'd rather do other things than sit behind a wheel. Believe me, I'm not sitting here waiting for the road capacity to increase just so i can go out and drive around on it.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Flocke

    GPS has an accuracy of a couple of meters (5m IIRC). DGPS has guaranteed decimeter accuracy and with really accurate localised DGPS you can get mm precision.

    If this wasn't true, GPS wouldn't work for people walking about. And I can quite happily monitor myself with mobile Google Maps + GPS walking up and down my street in a non-straight line (so it's not just inferring where I'm going and jumping 100m that way). And that's a phone's built-in GPS with a crap aerial. When driving it knows what side of the road I'm on. My little chewing-gum-stick-sized GPS does this as well.

    Speeding up traffic greatly reduces fuel consumption / litre over the normal crap speeds that are managed at rush hours. The fuel efficiency of some cars will peak at higher speeds / revs, and also if you're sat in traffic you're burning through fuel without going anywhere. Or stop-start driving, which is probably worse since you barely move but use lots more fuel...

    Using the hard shoulder is such a sucky fucktarded idea that they should be sacked for thinking about it. What if someone crashes and needs help? What happens when we start filling THAT lane up- you'll be stuck with traffic that's just as bad but with no emergency lane.

    I'd suggest that all MPs and council buildings have an artificial 2-hour lead time applied to their emergency service needs so that they can see what happens when an ambulance is stuck in traffic.

    That £6Bn would be best invested in public transport. Or sorting out the abysmal state of our roads. Or bribing Her Majesty to legalise Gordon Brown's hanging. Hell, or bribing the government to legalise weed so we can all forget about this big brother crap....

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    @Alexis Vallance

    The M42 cameras are only activated when the active traffic management system enforces a temporary speed limit, which can be easily discerned by the lit signs. I read that somewhere a long time ago and have proved it true on many occasion. Also, it's easy to tell which gantries have cameras on them by glancing at the gantry on other side of the road on approach.

  53. Martin
    Stop

    So, they're planning to spend many billions of pounds

    providing an 'extra' lane (really just the hard shoulder) that I can't afford to drive in anyway, with the added benefit that the whole road has an absurdly low "temporary" speed limit with a festival of speed cameras to ensure that no-one looks up from their speedometer for more than a second at a time. This is of benefit to me HOW?

    I actually wonder how much cheaper (for the M6 in Brum at least) it would be for them to just buy out the M6 Toll and open it for free, and how much bigger an effect this would have on congestion in the area.

    I often use the M42 where 'ATM' (Active Traffic Management) is in use- the 'temporary' limits tend to hang about well past the times when the motorway is actually busy, and tend to change without warning such that you have to concentrate on and read every gantry you go under. Added to this is the occasional comedy of an inexplicable 20mph limit (camera-enforced of course) applied to a SINGLE LANE, resulting in everyone either braking suddenly once they've read the sign, or desperately cutting into another lane if they saw the sign too late. I wouldn't trust the current government (or the Highways Agency for that matter) to run a piss-up in a brewery, let alone micro-manage the speed of all vehicles across the motorway network. I also seem to remember that implementing the M42 ATM scheme cost almost as much (IIRC about 15% less) as just widening the damn thing properly would have been.

    Added to this, I am continually infuriated by the old "reduce traffic jams by using other methods to stop people driving" bollocks. Why was the traffic jam a problem in the first place?; because it stops people effectively using a road. How this is made better by stopping people effectively using a road is beyond me.

    Increasing the cost of motoring doesn't work- petrol is now at £1.169/L and there are still traffic jams. The same twats that were bleating when it was £0.699 (a mere 6 years ago) are still bleating about driving being 'too cheap'. Congestion is a matter of capacity and nothing else. The "new roads will only become jammed" brigade are assuming that there are infinite cars and infinite people to drive them. If capacity is sufficient there will be few jams, especially when there is such a massive cost attached to driving anyway; do they think that given any more roads we will all just spend 24h/day driving round aimlessly?

    My solution is that unless we want to become a piss-stained 3rd world banana republic we need to actually INVEST in transport NOW. That means new and wider roads, MUCH faster and bigger trains, rebuilt stations and frequent, fast and cheap buses. This does NOT mean narrowing every good urban road in existence with a bus lane that rarely sees a bus. This does NOT mean implementing some kind of bullshit road pricing scheme, costing the same as DOUBLING the motorway network would.

    The government should start spending some of the £30,000,000,000 per year it gets from fuel and road tax on building some frigging infrastructure (especially for the massively increased numbers of rail passengers there already are), rather than dreaming up ever more innovative methods of extractng yet more money from us all, with the bonus of ever more minute control over peoples daily lives.

  54. Simpson

    Dear Leader

    "understand the rationale for the regime, enjoy the improved reliability it delivers, and accept the need for high levels of monitoring and compliance"

    Sounds like a report written for a personality cult dictator. (The people love the monitoring, they want more)

    You guys will be trying to emigrate to China soon, to get more freedom.

  55. Hugh McIntyre

    Re: Congestion Control

    > An obvious way to manage congestion on the motorways is to have some

    > sort of pro-active slip road control - ie don't let more traffic join the motorway

    > when it's already full.

    Indeed, several of the motorways hereabouts in the US (in built up areas subject to congestion at least) have this, called "metering". And it seems to work pretty well in keeping the road moving most of the time. They also have it on one of the old-M6 junctions in Birmingham.

    > Of course, this means redesigning all the junctions to incorporate space

    Not sure you need much redesign. Just space for traffic lights with sensors under the road to enforce one-car-per-green. Certainly none of the junctions here seem to get redesigned when this is added.

    The bigger impediment to adding this seems to be all of the monitoring of traffic on the motorway and the control setup itself in order to dynamically adjust how many cars to allow on at each junction.

  56. Dan Kitchen

    @ road pricing

    Isn't this road pricing already in place? After all I seem to remember 50% of the amount I spend on fuel goes to the government...

  57. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge
    Black Helicopters

    Remote control

    The control of our roads should be given to an American company. They can then send out the fines for non-compliance. If we fair to pay the fines we can be extradited to gitmo.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    "motorists appear to understand"

    that's unless you actually ask them, stop taking the halucogenic drugs you fuckwit and listen to the people.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    Didnt someone of some importance say...

    ...that the reason we DONT have toll roads is because we have a car tax system >INSTEAD<, I think it came up at the fuel protests a few years back. At the time it was said our road/fuel tax system was highest in europe because we didnt have toll roads, implying it was either tolls or tax.

    Now it seems were heading towards tolls AND tax, and the only thing its giving in return appears to be an orwellian country-wide motorway network camera system.

    Nice.

    Skull and crossbones because were being micromanaged by pirates.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    @ Fraser

    "...

    <snip>

    Where are the crowds of people protesting about this, I want to join them, I can't just be angry about it any more...."

    don't be daft. this is britain. the more the government shafts the public up the arse, the more they love it. evidence of this can easily be found by watching or listening to any TV or radio political phone-in programme. in the five minutes before you put the fucking telly [or radio] through the wall, you'll realise that for every person saying "policy X is an infringement of people's human rights", there will be at least a dozen morons keen to point out that "if you're not doing anything wrong, you've nothing to worry about!"

    face it, the vast majority of the british public are so fucking thick they deserve all they get. unfortunately the rest of us will either have to grit our teeth and put up with it or keep saving up 'til we can afford to emigrate

    [i know i am!]

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    It's all clear now...

    "A high level of monitoring and compliance is needed"

    Pretty much par for the course in the UK, then?

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Met SO15 - the UK's secret terror police

    Yup, they scare the fuck out of me too! I wish our anti-terror Police would knock on their door

    Look up, people. Look up.

  63. Jeff Deacon
    Stop

    Caution - Sub Editor at Work

    Lewis is quoted as writing: "In all fairness, the government does seem willing to have a two-tier motorway system, not a compulsory e-surveillance panopticon."

    It is quite clear that the sub editor has removed the word "yet" from the sentence. After the comma it should surely read: "not YET a compulsory ... "

    Please can we have an icon for "Don't believe anything until it has been denied twice by the government or their sock puppets"?

  64. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Alex Hooren

    A few years back I tried a little experiment. I stopped driving as fast as the conditions allowed. Instead I dropped into the nearside lane, dialled 45-50mph into the cruise control, sat back, did a bit of steering as required and listened to the radio for a while. Journey took a few minutes longer but not enough to bother me (I just left a few minutes earlier on the odd occasion I had to be at my desk by a specific time), petrol consumption dived but, more importantly, little or no stress. I arrive perfectly relaxed. Of course that couldn't be said for the wankers in their beemers having a cardiac event because I was in their way momentarily but that in itself adds to the pleasure I get from the journey.

  65. Tim Hogard

    Is the problem due to excessive management already?

    Is traffic in the UK following the pattern in Melbourne where there congestion is getting worse and worse yet there has been a decrease in total miles driven every year for the last four?

  66. Jeff Deacon
    Dead Vulture

    Re: too easy? By Sam

    "Improve communications to the point where we don't have to commute? Why drive x miles to talk down a phone and tap at a keyboard when you don't have to? How many people really have to have a physical presence in a particular location for their job?"

    You might be surprised to know that there is still some manufacturing industry left in the Province formerly known as England. It requires people to get their hands dirty so that others can have a supply of the things they need. As bankers are finding out at present, pushing figures around on a screen many times when it really only needs to be done once is a huge cost saver waiting to happen.

    I don't know about the vulture, but this country's had it!

  67. matthew
    Thumb Down

    car transport by train

    I’m going on holiday next month, travelling from Cornwall to the Scottish highlands, I have to take a car because by air I could not take the amount of luggage, etc we need and travelling by train has the same issue.

    But If I could transport my car by train from my nearest major station to one somewhere in Scotland, I could save shed loads on petrol, not add to congestion and be far more environmentally friendly.

    I would happily pay £80-£130 to have my car taken up and brought back; it’s going to cost me more than that in petrol and stopping in a travel lodge half way up.

    They have systems like this in other European countries, the USA and Australia.

    I don’t want to drive everywhere, I have to.

  68. Richard Brown-Kenna
    Paris Hilton

    My 2p's worth

    Get rid of the undertaking rule, and run the lanes as seperate lanes. This would alleviate all the problems caused by all the t**ts that insist on cutting into the fast lane and then anchor on when they nearly miss their junction. Think about it, no more middle lane hogs as well. It would work...honest!

    Paris, because she's American and it works for them ;)

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    hard shoulder

    umm can't help thinking the hard shoulder already has a purpose. it's where you go when you break down (no doubt due to overheating in the congestion).

    I swear if just one of the major political parties would just say "things are ticking along just fine, we'll leave well alone, then they would have my vote for life"

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    I've an idea!

    Why not wipe out half the population with say bird flu, starvation or some other man made, oh wait a minute I think that plan is already in place oops......

    However a less harsh method might be to invest in a small single person transportation device that can do +120miles per gallon for all those one person travelers wait wait I've got it a scooter with a roof no that been done too.

    Forget it ye shall submit to our control methods or die!

    btw if they have all this money for such a system could someone please fix all the ruts and potholes on my route to work as it's getting a bit hairy.

    Yes yes mines the white one with the hands that tie behind the back thank you.

  71. Chris Hamilton
    Alert

    Just like the M6 is just now surely??

    Is the offside lane of the M6 between Birmingham and Preston (or the M5 from Cheltenham - Walsall) already covered by this scheme, because it seems man+dog want to be in this lane, which usually means it slows to between 40-60mph.

    Often resulting in me contiuing to pootle on by at 70mph in the middle/nearside lanes. Apparently undertaking is perfectly legal as long is you are doing it to keep up the flow of traffic. So just don't undertake at more than 70mph.

    When will they learn? Nobody uses the one (actually useful) toll road we have, except the BMW (I'm more important than you, but couldn't afford indicator bulbs) brigade. So if it's a choice, then expect to see the free lanes jammed full.

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    This government just don't get it

    How unpopular they have become. They think the population is unhappy because of world events, and there is an element of that, but in the people I meet and see, by far and away they are unpopular for the never ending deluge of legislation, enforcement and micro behavioural management they are inflicting on us.

    Yes something needs to be done about congestion but applying any form of congestion tax when there is no alternative public transport for people to use instead is just a tax, and it affects the poor disproportionately.

    Even the psychology is wrong, "enforcement" cameras immediately gets people's backs up because it implies coercion - you will be MADE to obey. I remain to be convinced that "Safety camera" isn't an oxymoron. In a wider view, if laws were kept simple, well explained and easily understood then the majority of people would obey them, removing the need for most of this monitoring and enforcement.

    The intent seems to be to criminalise everyone until the state in some form or other has grudgingly granted a temporary certificate (at a cost - penalising the poor most) that we are not necessarily guilty of some particular offence, but with the implication that we are still guilty of everything else unless certified.

    I really do hope all this changes when the next government comes. The UK has a lot going for it but we also have a lot to lose through short sighted knee-jerk legislation in response to events.

    Paris - because she does a good knee-jerk in response to events. :-)

  73. Michael
    Happy

    Dosen't solve all the problems

    Most delays in total transit time are the bottlenecks at junctions in urban areas (traffic lights, roundabouts, etc) , so they won't totally get rid of the ripple effect . ( see m4 bracknell turn-off at 845 am or the heathrow m4 sliproad at 5.50 am) . ( 6 billion, eh? ... wonder can i wangle a consultancy fee..)

  74. Ringo
    Flame

    So how come . . .

    TFL can't tell me if I need to pay the charge on the day (apparently their systems get a download at the end of the day from the cameras) and yet the Police get realtime info.

    Had a situation where I drove briefly into and out of the zone at (according to my car clock) 6:55am, called to see if I had to pay (as their 'gps time' may have been ahead of my car clock), they couldn't say and don't issue a refund if you pay in case and it turns out you didn't need to.

    Bastards.

  75. Mark Land

    two tier

    Seems to be going the way parking is at the moment, segregating it, so that only the well to do can afford it. I live in North Devon and now only the well off tourists can afford the £5+ to park at the beach in summer. What kind of society is it where you can do what you like to planet if you can afford it? It should be equal access to all (based on ability to pay), and fix the root of the problem - our dependance on oil....

  76. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    bahh

    @Fraser - "Allowing Police to stop us, without reason and demand we account for ourselfs"

    i got searched the other day in the middle of mcdonalds drive through, the reason they gave me was that they "could smell marijuana as i driove past them" - i didnt drive past them,i was already there when they drove in, even if i did they couldnt of smelt anything because they were in a van with windows closed, i didnt have any and i saw it as an excuse rather than "reasonable suspicion" so i went straight down to the station and made a formal complaint aganst them, for that and many other things they did wrong - it is now being taken higher, fight the power lol!!! im voting lib dem, have only just read about them but they are opposed to nanny state and want to scrap vehicle tax etc, thats good enough for me! its time people started doing something about all this crap instead of just moaning about it.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Simple proposals

    They should increase business rates for properties far from public transport to prevent corner-cutting irresponsible shops and businesses forcing customers and staff to drive there, and reflect the wider social costs. Use taxes and planning laws to stop the building of out-of-town offices and shopping centres and reduce huge sprawling suburbs and exurbs (while simultaneously preserving the countryside). Focus new out-of-town businesses on planned areas with good transport links (like Edinburgh Park in Edinburgh, Docklands in London, or La Defense in Paris) rather than unregulated building scattered too diffusely to make public transport efficient. Tax gardens (around homes and particularly offices) to prevent suburban sprawl. Encourage more house or flat-building in cities and areas with good public transport links (e.g. by selectively removing stamp duty, relaxing planning regulations, selling publicly-owned sites cheaply).

  78. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Ha!

    Well they can promise all they like but with any luck and common sense they ain't gonna be there long enough to do it!!

    Watch for more wild spending promises from a broke government, they make the promises and then can say that it's all the fault of those that follow, whether things are carried out or not. Good propaganda for the election after next!

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @AC, 11:58

    What 'wider social costs'? Oh yes, the "OMG its a car and its evil" cost.

    People shop at out-of-town shops because generally they prefer to, rather then driving into a congested city and attempting to park (probably not the outcome you desire), or catching a slow, expensive bus and then having to go home once they've as much shopping as they can comfortably carry at once.

    I really want to know what is this magical goodness-ray thats emitted by public transport when the overall carbon footprint is much the same as driving and the user experience stinks.

    Anyway, as an academic once wrote (on the societal effects of the car); how many cheap effective police cars/ambulances/fire engines would there be without the economies of scale generated by mass motoring, how many roads would there be for them to run on and how many people would die for want of quick medical/police/fire attention as a result?

  80. Liam
    Thumb Down

    hmmmm

    stop banging on about trains. the vast majority of the country never uses them. most of us work within a few miles frkom where we live. all these bloody londoners banging on about using public transport really annoys me. you have a decent public transport system as everyone outside of london has been funding you for years, but we have all seen sod all spending in our regions.

    i live about 3 miles from work.. simple 15 minute journey to work. if i was to get public transport i would need to get 3 busses! how ridiculous. many never turn up and they want silly money for fares. i know i could cycle etc. i have a massive hill to get up the way back so thats never gonna happen (its hard enough to walk up it!). also i need my car so i can get out at dinner times and do shopping and all the other stuff i dont want to do on a saturday with all the families and kids in town.

    i drive approx 3500 miles a year and have a 1.6 astra... for that privilege i have to pay £200/year road tax (same as a 2 ltr BMW! wtf?!?!) i say we stop road tax - the gov is making a fortune from the massive oil prices (since 60%+ of it is tax) and shouldnt you pay for the miles you use rather than a blanket tax?

    people dont want to have to pay through the roof to own, insure, tax a car and then be told to use public transport by bloody subsidised southerners...

    how many times do we see pointless 50mph signs on motorways yet nobody is working (or has been for ages), surely making everyone drive slow doesnt help congestion... look at towns. strange you never see the german autobahns. i see the point in traffic calming between school hours but why the hell is it still 20mp near a school after 11pm? wtf?

    also we have seen numerous ridiculous traffic calming measures (there seems to be crossings about every 10m where i live), all these SLOW DOWN traffic causing congestion.

    we have also seen cycle lanes used excessively round here.. making lots of roundabouts now 1 lane as the 2nd has been eaten by a seldom used cycle lane (and kids still ride on the path anyway)

    i also feel that we are being forced to use cars less, but then i see laods of polish cars on the road where i live... call me cynical but dont moan about congestion and have an open door policy - do they even have to MOT, tax and insure their cars?

    when the hell are people going to really discuss the important reasons as to why we have more congestion?

    erm.. maybe soaring population. we seriously need to stop any new people coming in, stop people having 5 or 6 kids and living on benefits and look at our population. if we still only had 45 millon people in this country like a few years ago would congestion be so bad? erm... no!

  81. John
    Go

    How to solve traffic congestion

    Solving traffic congestion is very hard. The solution is to constantly reduce speed limits on cars. We know this, because governments tell us so, and governments are the only organisations allowed to actually build this infrastructure.

    Let's think about the following problem: "Maximise the throughput of IP packet-traffic through a network of interconnects, with cross-connections through IP routers".

    Funded by a government think-tank, my solutions are:

    1) Enforce a policy on data-pipes that adds a fixed latency per router hop. That is, impose a maximum speed-limit on the packets.

    2) Increase the per-packet-mile charge until people stop sending this traffic - it only harms the environment, and clearly has no economic benefit.

    3) Under no circumstances build out any capacity.

    4) Take the income from the network, and invest it in building a slower, non-DARPA-networked, non-scaleable solution like snail-mail [OK, railways, get with the programme....]

    Funded by companies with an interest in economic success, my solutions are:

    1) Build out more capacity.

    2) Make smarter routers that route packets in the cheapest direction, using RIP

    3) Weighted Fair Queueing algorithms. Proved mathematically to optimise throughput.

    What's especially interesting, as a network design problem, is how obviously mad the idea is, that imposing a maximum speed-limit on packets would increase the net throughput. Every network engineer knows that the cause of congestion is OTHER PACKETS. The solution is to get them out of the network ASAP, not delay them.

  82. Andy Livingstone

    Come Back, Marples - All is Forgiven.

    @Thinking Laterally - Anonymous Coward:

    Yup, tried before and worked beautifully. They called them Motorway Patrols. Think there are some examples in the Transport Museum.

    If they are ever restored, perhaps one solution to Motorway congestion would be to ensure that access is permitted only to those who have passed a (decent) test to prove their common sense and ability. Those who drive who dive from Lanes 2 or 3 around 50 yards from their daily exit need not apply......you know who you are. Twinning lorry drivers permanently excluded.

  83. Chris
    Stop

    This is getting boring

    I see the old chestnut about 'if we build more roads they just fill up' has been hauled out again - consider for a moment the implications of that idea (cooked up years ago by tree huggers) taken to it's logical conclusion...

    Pave the entire country over and designate it all motorway. According to that idiot theory the entire country will fill with cars. More cars than probably exist in all of Europe. Far more cars than human beings in the UK. Cars that don't exist and can't be used if they did.

    Yet that ridiculous theory is now accepted, by senior civil servants and the idiot politicians they lead around by the nose, as proven fact. And trotted out regularly as 'proof' that the incompetent civil servants are right in imposing their latest hare-brained, personal liberty encroaching, revenue generation (well, their salaries need paying after all) schemes.

    It's painfully obvious that if you build ENOUGH road capacity you will, if the population remains constant, reach a surplus state. After which you only need increase capacity in line with population increase. Neither of which any government has ever actually attempted to do!

    NuLab (AKA Applied Marxist Socialism) taking over the UK must have seemed like Christmas Day to these people - who are the ones you really need to worry about. Even when (if) the electorate comes to it's senses and heaves NuLab out, whoever does get in, those Senior Civil Servants will STILL BE THERE.

    Nothing much will change. They'll still be leading the politicians around by the nose - ruining what's left of the UK - and imposing their ridiclous schemes on all of us. And remember, you can't vote them out...

    Privatisation? Forget it. We all know how well that works - imagine BT running the government?

    And run the government is precisely what the unelected senior civil service does - with plenty of help from legions of useless, near mindless underlings who aren't up to holding down private sector positions.

    The answer? There isn't one, short of a massive and unprecedented change in the political landscape, or a selective plague that rids the country of huge swathes of our parasitical civil service, starting at the top.

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Congestion on the motorways is your fault, John Public!

    Contrary to what people think, there is no "undertake rule" in the UK. If you read the highway code, you will find that you are allowed to pass traffic on the left when there are queues of traffic.

    On one of those police propaganda programmes on the tele, I saw the pigs "undertaking". They referred to it as something like nearside passing, and if the police do try to do you for "undertaking" it will usually be something like driving without due care and attention.

    The middle lane morons in this country (the majority of drivers, if you look at the behaviour of motorists on the motorways) are one of the largest causes of congestion on the roads. But as they seem to be a large chunk of society, the government does its usual thing of avoiding insulting the voters. Just like how when kids behave like little shits it's always the parents' fault, the government will not say this as those parents are also voters.

    If you are a middle lane moron (you probably are), there is help available:

    http://www.howmotorwayswork.co.uk/

    http://www.middlelanemorons.com/

    Infact, on the M6 not long ago I flashed my main beams at a middle lane moron from lane 1 as I was approaching, with a police range rover behind me. I then had to move all the way to lane 3, and back to one to pass him. The pigs also flashed their lights, and the idiot did then actually move over. So I can attest that the police don't mind if you give these clowns some abuse!

    I remember when I first passed my test, the middle lane philosophy seems good for numerous reasons - you're not the fastest on the m'way, so the pigs won't pull you. You don't get stuck behind things..... but that is only due to not paying attention far enough ahead on the road.

    The fact that probably over 99% of motorway users have never had motorway driving lessons will also account for the levels of stupidity on the motorways, and in turn the congestion. The next time you are on the motorway and it concetinas, notice how lane 3 concetinas first, then two, and then maybe 1. It is due to people not driving on the left, like we are meant to in this country!

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Affordable Trains Might Help

    No doubt it's been mentioned, but affordable rail travel might help with congestion.

    Over the last 3 months I have spent £280 on petrol travelling to and from work(40 mile round trip). If I were to use the train (with a monthly season ticket) I would have spent £365. So by using the car I've saved £85. Not really a hard choice to make.

    Also before opening up the hard shoulders how about giving tickets to the drivers who live in the middle lane. Who knows if all 3 lanes were to be used properly there wouldn't be any need to use the hard shoulder.

  86. g e
    Flame

    Reduce congestion?

    Ban those psychopathic HGV drivers from overtaking each other at 1mph then.

    Seriously, how much pollution does it create when some HGV driver who's determined not take his wagon off cruise pulls out into the middle lane causing a dozen or more cars to slow down and pull out into the fast lane slowing that lane down too... and then all those cars then accelerate back to the speed they WERE at before Eddie Stobart's mindless human autopilot slowed them all down in the first place.

    More than the extra half hour the wagon has to drive by doing 1mph less over a 500 mile trip I'd imagine.

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