Friday, December 12, 2008

Manchester rejects congestion charge

Manchester has voted overwhelmingly against a proposed congestion charge that would have seen motorists paying up to £5 each day to enter the city. The ‘Yes campaign’ said it was disappointed the scheme had been rejected. Liz Phelan the head of the ‘Yes campaign’ said the turnout had been low and that had resulted in the proposal‘s failure. Ten boroughs were involved in the referendum and as each result was read out there were loud cheers from the ‘No campaign’ supporters. Graham Stringer MP of the ‘No Campaign’ said he was “delighted” that the plan had been rejected and described the scheme as “ill thought through”.

Many motorists had expressed dismay at the proposed charge especially at a time of recession and with many facing financial problems. Photographer Paul Francis told the BBC he could not have passed such costs onto his customers and would have had to swallow the cost himself. A majority of voters in all of the region's 10 boroughs voted against the plans, with 812,815 (79%) no votes and 218,860 (21%) in favour of the charge. The BBC interestingly broke into a Live broadcast from the scene of a multi-vehicle crash on the M6 in order to bring viewers the news of the vote.
Further south in the county of Essex new speed cameras have been erected which councillors say will help reduce congestion. The new SPECs Speed Cameras have been installed on the A127 covering a section of road from the A130 junction to the A129. The stretch of the road is currently 70 MPH but may soon be reduced to 50 MPH.

Michael Page, a spokesman for Essex County Council, is quoted in a local paper as saying, “The introduction of average speed cameras on the A127 is a very positive move ... It will help to reduce the number of accidents and alleviate congestion during peak times”. However many drivers have claimed that badly designed road junctions were to blame for any existing congestion and warned the new cameras will only add to drivers' problems. Others have labelled the scheme as merely a "money making exercise" [pocketgpsworld].

SPECS is a speed camera system manufactured by the British company Speed Check Services Limited. The cameras operate as two or more sets along a route. They work by recording a vehicles number plate at each fixed camera site, using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology. As the distance is known between these sites, the average speed can be calculated by dividing this by the time taken to travel between two points. The cameras use Infrared photography and so can operate around the clock.

No comments: