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Van drivers up in arms in Ilkeston

Van drivers in the East Midlands are being left confused and in some cases out of pocket by parking regulations.

It appears that signs in the car parks of East Midlands town Ilkeston, have completely baffled market traders, shop owners and delivery drivers as they have been given parking tickets even though they have paid to park in them.

John Green, a delivery driver in the town, said vans were being ticketed in Queens Street car park in September even though they had paid to park, he explained “I knew that a vans commercial vehicle insurance was different to ordinary car insurance but didn’t realise a light goods tax disc could stop you parking in a council car park.”

The story was picked up by shop owner, Danny Tyldesley, who said “I need my van for work; I can’t run my business without it. I’ve been parking it in the car park on Queens Street for ages without problem. But then I was told by other traders that vehicles with light goods tax discs had started being given tickets.”

The sign in the car parks actually reads ‘parking a vehicle not taxed as light goods vehicle’ under the heading, ‘Contraventions subject to £70/£50 charge’.

Mr Tyldesley believes the signs are misleading and said “The sign doesn’t make sense, the way its written says to me that it’s okay for light goods vehicles to park here but not other vehicles. I’m not asking for free parking, I’ve been happily paying to park here until now.”

Apparently traffic wardens are no longer giving out tickets to van drivers but the council have still to make the position clear. In the meantime light goods vehicle drivers are hoping they can pursue their businesses without the threat of fines hanging over them.

Fear for small businesses as toll increase looms

Van drivers with commercial vehicle insurance could be set for an increase in Humber Bridge tolls after proposed increases across the entire six vehicle categories were announced by Humber bridge officials.

Documents seen by the Grimsby Telegraph also reveal further plans to combine the classifications, making three groups instead of six, and the changes mean that small businesses are set to be the hardest hit.

The Humber Bridge was opened in July 1981 and if the plans are given the green light it will see the bridge being the most expensive toll crossing in Great Britain. The charges would go up by 11% to £3 each way for cars from April 1st 2011.

Many small businesses are already under pressure at the moment because of the current economic climate and increasing the tolls will only make the problem worse. They fear it will kill their trade as it will make it difficult and costly for them to do any business across the river.

Business owners who regularly cross the bridge in their vans have reacted angrily to the new proposals. Ron Rookledge, who owns East Yorkshire Cleaning, said “If I get a cleaning inquiry from over there I go across and do a quote first and then go back and do the job. That means four trips across and that puts additional cost on me. With this extra cost I would try to do telephone quotes but, to be honest, my success rate doing that drops. It might be that I would start looking at not going at all. There is no incentive for small business in the East Riding area, just this additional cost. It’s unfair to businesses and it’s unfair to customers who don’t benefit from fair competition.”

The Humber Bridge Board stated the reclassification of vehicles makes it much easier for drivers and it will simplify the charges. Some vehicles will pay more and some will pay less, there will be some winners and some losers. The board also claims it has been forced to apply for the toll increases as they have to pay off its £330 million debt to the government.

MP looks for radical change on UK motorways

The nations van drivers, especially those travelling long distances, could well be getting price quotes for individual journeys as well as their commercial vehicle insurance if the Government takes up the suggestion of one of its MP’s.

Tim Yeo, speaking in his role as Chairmen of the Commons energy and climate select committee, is advocating the Government sell off huge chunks of the country’s motorway network.

He believes the sell off would raise funds for a cut in fuel duty and, privatisation would in itself see large amounts of investment in the upkeep of the nation’s main highway arteries. Mr. Yeo pointed out the popularity of the M6 toll and forecast that privatisation and the toll charges that would lead from it could be targeted in many ways to be fairer on motorists. For instance, van drivers travelling at night would incur a lesser charge than those travelling at peak times. Vans with lower carbon emission levels could get a discounted rate, and van drivers not using the motorway at all would benefit from much smaller, if any, road taxation.

Explaining further he said “So far most politicians have been reluctant to embrace the huge potential which a truly radical road pricing system offers. Allied to the overdue privatisation of Britain’s motorways this could fund both more investment in better roads and the immediate development of high speed rail. Since it could also pay for a cut in fuel duty the upshot would be a cut in the cost of driving for drivers who make little use of motorways, a group which includes many rural residents for whom car ownership is a necessity, regardless of wealth.”

Council target prison vans

A London council have managed to upset van drivers, the company they work for and the general public at large with their policy on issuing parking tickets to a firm responsible for an unusual cargo.

Croydon Council parking attendants are issuing tickets to prison vans delivering and picking up prisoners outside Croydon County Court and although the council says it has only issued two tickets to prison vans, court employees say that vans are ticketed on a daily basis.

Serco, the company involved say, like their cargo, their hands are tied. The company insist they have to park as close as possible to the county court to facilitate a secure and speedy service so court business is not delayed. Furthermore the van drivers and escort staff have to stay with prisoners until they are dealt with by the court.

They went on to say that although they are working on government business, they have to pay the fines the same as any other business with a company spokesman adding “We would appeal to a local authority where this a lack of appropriate parking nearby to engage with us to find a local solution to allow efficient use of courts whilst minimising any disruption to local communities.”

Consumer group the National Taxpayers Alliance were infuriated by the information, a spokesman declaring “It is obviously ridiculous that with one arm our government is giving another arm parking tickets. The only people who are losing out are the tax payers, who are being made to suffer as a result of the stupidity of public officials.”

Fortunately for the van drivers involved the parking tickets will not adversely affect their commercial vehicle insurance.

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