Drivers, rejoice! The war on motorists is over | Rupert Myers

Drivers, rejoice! The war on motorists is over | Rupert Myers
The government has seen sense and put a stop to over-zealous parking enforcement. We can now enjoy the thrill of being behind the wheel

It’s time to fire up the Quattro, or pull the dust cloth off the 2CV, and put on Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain. The war on motorists has come to an end, and by the sunglasses of Enzo Ferrari, does it feel good. For years motorists have been painted as the enemy. Othered by cyclists and environmentalists, they have been congestion charged and pushed out of major urban areas by “park-and-ride” schemes. Milked for all their worth by police forces and local authorities alike, drivers have been fined, taxed and squeezed for years, demonised and shamed into coughing up money to pay for free gym memberships for local authorities, or PR officers for police forces so that they can spin the justification of all those speed cameras. There are about 36 million drivers in the UK, and the government is beginning to recognise that we have been pushed too far.

First came the news that many car parking fines issued on private land may be illegal after the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 banned clamping, towing, blocking in or immobilising a vehicle without lawful authority on private land. This legal reform sought to end the obscene charges levied by private landowners at the expense of unwitting motorists. In my experience, it is always those who are cash- or time-poor who end up with such fines. The greater punishment inflicted on those who cannot afford to pay straight away, the ramping up of fees by private companies, was a further punishment on the most vulnerable. In many rural areas, a car is the only viable means of transport. For struggling families with children, the train is prohibitively expensive and the bus often inconvenient. The driver is not just the economic backbone of our economy, but often the person who cannot afford to sit back and enjoy a train journey.

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Source: Guardian Transport

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