Friday, May 31, 2013

Happy, Happy, Friday!!!

  
  

Admin blunder means payouts totalling £210,000 to Hyndburn taxi drivers

HUNDREDS of taxi drivers are set to get a windfall because of a £210,000 council blunder.

For nine years council chiefs failed to advertise increases in taxi licensing fees. Now, to avoid legal action, they will refund the cash equivalent of the rises paid by private hire and hackney drivers.

A probe into the mistake has been launched by Hyndburn Council, sparking a number of disciplinary investigations into council staff.

The authority said it had also taken action to prevent a similar mix-up occurring again. 

The mistake, which could see some drivers being paid back up to £400, is said to have come to light due to a legal challenge made to the authority.

Hyndburn Council leader Miles Parkinson said the blame began in 2004 with the council’s previous Conservative administration. 

He said: “Before 2004, these ads had always been published, but when Peter Britcliffe became leader that all stopped. Since this issue came to our attention in 2011 we have investigated our liabilities thoroughly.

“We have come to the conclusion that we must refund these amounts to avoid legal challenges.”

Hyndburn’s Labour MP Graham Jones also said the issue was a historical one.

He said: “It is just typical of the last Conservative administration. They just decided not to bother with these ads. It seems that every month a blunder from the past is being uncovered.”

However opposition leader Mr Britcliffe called for a through disciplinary investigations of the officers involved.

He said: “Considering the council have been looking into this since 2011, I am stunned that I am only hering about it now. I find it amazing I have not been spoken to about this and was only informed by the Lancashire Telegraph.

“The responsibility lies with officers and I would hope that a thorough investigation takes place into why they did not alert councillors.”

Drivers in Union Street, Accrington, yesterday said they were angry at the mistake and they did not feel they were being supported by the council.

Hackney driver Ash Mahmood, 45, said: “It is only fair they pay us back. We have no business left anyway and we are not making very much money.

“It is very, very hard to make a living. The payback won’t be much each but it will make things a bit easier.”

Fellow Hackney driver Mohammed Shabir, 55, said: “When we give our fee to the council, they should be spending it on helping us, but they do nothing.

“We have all been really affected because private firms have dropped their prices and the council says we have to charge a minimum of £3 at night, so we really lose out.

“So it is right that they should give us this money back.”

The council have powers to charge non profit taxi licensing fees under the 1976 Local Government Act.

However the council must give 28 days notice in a local newspaper, inviting objections. If the rules are not followed, the amount charged does not take legal effect and the fee is repayable.

The money is used to pay for vehicle inspections, providing hackney stands and administration costs.

Refunds will be made for the past six years, the statutory limitation period for such sums through the courts. 

http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/new...._taxi_ drivers/

GOOD NEWS FOR MANCHESTER CABBIES.

Many of you know, we instigated an Audit into Manchester's abuse of License Fee's. Manchester's Auditors are the same company as here, Grant Thornton.

Grant Thornton, cannot say our claims are without foundation now.

Get ready for YOUR rebate.


PLANNED BNP DEMO: Met Police press release.


Events for this Saturday: Planned demonstration by BNP

 

 

The MPS has this afternoon, 30 May, imposed conditions upon a march and rally being planned by the BNP forSaturday 1 June.

 

Conditions have been imposed under Section 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act, 1986, that the BNP march and rally must take place between 1300 and 1600, between Old Palace Yard and the Cenotaph in Whitehall on 1 June.

 

The BNP applied to hold a march and rally on 1 June from Woolwich Barracks to the Lewisham Islamic Centre.  The BNP’s intention to hold this march and rally resulted in a number of groups indicating they wished to attend to hold counter protests.

 

The information and intelligence available to the MPS meant that it was necessary to impose the conditions to prevent the demonstration from resulting in serious disorder, serious damage to property, and/or serious disruption to the life of the community.

 

Commander Simon Letchford, MPS, said:

 

“The murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich last week shocked our city.  The right to protest is a fundamental part of our society, however, such an evocative mix of views being expressed in communities still hurting from Lee’s murder could have resulted in ugly scenes on our streets.

 

“Those communities have made it clear to us the impact that groups expressing extreme views has upon them.  We have listened to those concerns following Lee Rigby’s murder, and we will keep working with all our communities.

 

“We know that when groups with conflicting views come together it can create tension and disorder.  What we have had to carefully consider is how to balance the right to protest with the negative impact on our communities and potential violence and disorder that may have resulted from these protests going ahead as they were suggested.

 

“If you want to protest on Saturday we ask that you do so peacefully, no matter what your view.  We will work with you to enable that protest to go ahead.  What we will also do is fulfill our duty to prevent crime and keep peace on our streets. 

 

“The support we have received so far from Londoners has been outstanding, I would urge people to continue to show restraint and calm.  We must continue to be a city that stands together.”

 

The decision to apply Section 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act was taken based on current community tensions, the current intelligence picture about Saturday and recent marches and protests held by similar groups. As part of the MPS assessment of current community tensions the views of a range of local representatives have been sought.  Taking all these factors into consideration the MPS has made an operational policing decision to take this approach, and believe it to be proportionate in these specific circumstances.

 

Attempts by the MPS to change the location of the protest via negotiation were unsuccessful. 

 

Breach of the conditions is a criminal offence, and anyone breaching them may find themselves open to arrest. 

 

The MPS Counter Terrorism Command is undertaking a complex and fast moving investigation into Lee Rigby’s murder.  Since the 22 May the MPS has been running an operation to provide extra reassurance patrols, and provide a response to any protests.     

 

 

 

Other Events Planned for Saturday:

 

1. Central London

 

  • The Mall and Horseguards Major Generals Review - ceremonial event with crowds expected in the area.
  •  Millbank to Tothill Street stopping at Defra, Smith Square anti badger cull protest. Gather at 12 noon for a 1pm set off finishing in St James Park
  • Treasury Building with short walk austerity march starting at 3pm

 

 

2. Edgware Area

 

Demonstration by MQM supporters - a Pakistani political group. This follows the murder of a political party member several weeks ago in Pakistan.


To keep up to date on events please follow the MPS:

 

  • Follow the MPS updates on Twitter @metpolice    or    @MetPoliceEvents

 


Thursday, May 30, 2013

EXCLUSIVE: More photos of the New Ford Transit Taxi.

As promised, here are some more photos of the brand new Ford Transit Taxi, unveiled yesterday in Manchester 's Event City at the Private Hire and Taxi show. The model on display is the manual version £29k, it is a prototype. An auto version will also be available soon.


Low running costs start with the class-leading fuel economy, delivered by Ford's latest global 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engine which achieves combined fuel consumption of 6.6 l/100 km (42.8 mpg) and 174 g/km CO2 emissions - a reduction of up to 8 percent on the equivalent current Transit.

To help reduce real-world fuel consumption, the Ford Transit Custom offers Auto-Start-Stop on Stage V vehicles, which can cut fuel costs by up to 10 percent in urban driving.


The two extra seats in the front compartment can be removed.

Customers can also specify Acceleration Control, an innovative new option which limits the acceleration of the vehicle when it is unladen or part-laden. Field tests have shown reductions in real world fuel consumption of up to 15 percent, depending on the typical driving style; as well as reduced wear on brakes, tyres and other items.


Lower maintenance and repair costs

The Ford Transit Custom has been engineered to minimise the costs required for both routine and non-routine servicing, through smart design and optimising the requirement for regular maintenance.

With the longest service intervals in the class - two years /50,000 km/30,000 miles - the Ford Transit Custom is designed to spend as little time as possible off the road.


Under-bonnet access has been improved through the adoption of a new twin-motor wiper mechanism - which also enhances pedestrian protection - allowing service labour times to be reduced on the new model.


The engine design has been optimised to reduce the need for early maintenance, and to enable the power unit to use more affordable mineral lubricating oil. The oil is monitored for extreme usage and condition, and if it requires replacing before the service interval is due, a light on the instrument panel is illuminated.

Photos, with thanks to our field reporter Les Reid.

EDITORIAL COMMENT:
We have been tipped the wink that the turning circle requirement is soon to be removed from the conditions of fitness. This will open the doors to a whole range of cheaper, cleaner vehicles and will put huge pressure on current manufacturers.


We Hear: Nissan Are Preparing NV200 Hybrid Taxi


The Nissan NV200 may have been given a 10-year contract to be the exclusive taxi of New York City, but city code rules that the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC)  make at least one hybrid vehicle available for use as a taxi. With a 135-hp petrol I-4 under the hood, the NV200 is most definitely not a hybrid. Although the TLC plans on holding a vote in the coming weeks allowing fleets to choose from either the NV200 or a similarly sized hybrid like the Ford C-Max or Toyota Prius, our source at Nissan tells us that the automaker has every intention of remaining the exclusive taxi provider of New York City.


To that effect, Nissan tells us that it plans on offering a hybrid version of the NV200 taxi in New York for the van’s second model year, likely making it a 2015 model. The 2015 NV200 Hybrid’s powertrain could come from a number of places, with the JDM Serena S-Hybrid van’s hybrid powertrain the most likely choice. The Nissan Serena’s hybrid setup is a mild-hybrid system, similar to GM’s eAssist system, which uses the electric motor and a small battery pack to boost power and fuel economy, but the technology can’t power the vehicle independent of the gasoline engine. The S-Hybrid system could conceivably fit under the hood of the NV200 and not require any expensive body modifications, though an all-electric e-NV200 could be on the way, as well.

Like the existing NV200, the NV200 Hybrid will be specially built to handle 24-hour duty cycles and trashed New York streets. The 2015 NV200 Hybrid will initially be sold exclusively to taxi fleets in New York City, though if consumer demand is high enough, a hybrid version of the commercial van is a possibility. The gas-powered Nissan NV200 cab will make its taxi debut at the end of this year.


Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics...by Dave Davies

It seems the Mayors ignorance knows no bounds.

Despite the fact that he now has conclusive evidence that the taxi age limit is of no benefit to reduce pollution he is still in denial.

When asked in Mayors questions about the recent Supreme Court ruling which confirmed that legal limits for NO2 had not been met, the Mayor still claims that they have and still brags that he has implemented a taxi age limit.


Supreme Court Judgement - nitrogen dioxide (1)

Question No: 1296 / 2013

Stephen Knight

Does the Supreme Court’s declaration that the UK is in breach of Article 13 of the EU Air Quality Directive, adding that the way is now “open to immediate enforcement”, increase the likelihood that any resulting fines will be delegated to the Greater London Authority (GLA) under new powers contained within the Localism Act (2011)?

Written response from the Mayor

This is a matter for Defra. I am focused on improving air quality in London and have put in place an ambitious package of measures, including tighter Low Emission Zone standards, retiring the oldest taxis and cleaning up the bus fleet. These measures have already reduced emissions of NOx by 20 per cent and of PM10 by 15 per cent. 

(an absolute lie)

Supreme Court Judgement - nitrogen dioxide (2)

Question No: 1297 / 2013

Stephen Knight

What new actions do you propose to take to reduce NO2 levels in London as a result of the recent UK Supreme Court Judgement that London’s air pollution is in breach of Article 13 of the EU Air Quality Directive in relation to NO2?

Written response from the Mayor

I refer the Assembly Member to my answer to his previous question (MQ1296) in regard to the ambitious package of measures I have introduced since becoming the Mayor.

Furthermore, on 13th February I announced a package of additional air quality measures to be delivered in my second term and up to 2020, including:

 

-          a new Ultra Low Emission Zone for central London from 2020, subject to a feasibility study

-          retiring the remaining 900 oldest Euro III buses in TfL's fleet and replacing them with ultra-low emission Euro VI buses

-          accelerating the roll out of hybrid buses, with 1,600 on the road by 2016 including 600 of my iconic New Bus for London. This is equivalent to around 20 per cent of TfL's bus fleet

-          new measures to reduce emissions and clean up construction sites

-          retrofitting a further 24,000 homes, public buildings and schools with energy efficiency measures

-          introducing a new £20m Mayor's Air Quality Fund to support the boroughs in tackling local air quality hotspots.

 


EXCLUSIVE: First look at the all new Ford Transit Taxi

First look at the all new Ford Transit Taxi, unveiled today in the Private Hire and Taxi exhibition, held at Manchester's, Event City.

More to come on this vehicle soon.
Photo: Les Reid.

Bad day for the NISSAN London taxi, as cracks appear in Euro NCAP test

A three-star safety rating for the Nissan Combi, (also sold as the Evalia), chosen to replace the iconic TX4 as London’s black cab, will make the van-based people carrier an unpopular choice for Dad’s taxi. With the floor welding tearing open in the crash test, Euro NCAP judged the passenger compartment to be unstable in a collision.

In the Euro NCAP tests, the Nissan did quite well on pedestrian and child protection, although it’s probably more by luck than judgement. Based on the Nissan NV200, first launched in 2009, it seems unlikely that its design team back then were considering what would make for good pedestrian protection in 2013. Protection of legs and pelvis are good, but the hood is not a good place for anybody’s head to land.
Combi body cracked after crash testWith a score of 81%, the child protection in the car is pretty good too. Few parents would have a problem putting their children inside the Nissan Evalia. The fact that the car started coming apart at the seams in the crash test is far less impressive, however.
There seems to be a serious welding quality issue where the floor meets the A-pillar, an important part of the vehicle’s structure. The driver’s footwell also ruptured in the crash. None of this is good news, but I dread to think how well the old London cab would have done if Euro NCAP had crashed it at 64km/h. Probably much worse.
As a replacement for a London taxi (and the New York cab), the Nissan could be a huge improvement. However, families looking for a roomy people carrier would be better to avoid van conversions.
With the exception of the 9 seater Ford Tourneo Custom, such vehicles offer notoriously poor protection. The Mercedes Citan, which is basically a 2008 Renault Kangoo with restyled front and a Mercedes-Benz badge on the grille, is subject to a recall.

The Citan which sells for around £3000 more than an equivalent Kangoo is a surprising vehicle from a company such as Mercedes with a strong reputation for safety.


Inquiry into Manchester council taxi licence prices

Inquiry into Manchester council taxi licence prices



Manchester City Council will be investigated by the Audit Commission over the price of taxi licences.

The probe follows a Greater Manchester Private Hire Association claim that drivers were paying £240 more than those in Liverpool.


MR Black Cabs' Les Reid said he wants the "disparity" in pricing explained, especially as Liverpool drivers got a "far better service".

A council spokesman said licensees were not being "overcharged".

The Audit Commission's Grant Thornton said the body had "received a request to review the council's arrangements for charging for private hire licenses", which he said he was "responding to through the normal course of the audit".

Mr Reid said that licensing a black cab in Manchester cost £410 per year, while "our neighbours in Liverpool pay £170 and get a far better service".

"We need that answering - why is there such a disparity?" he said.

'No issue identified'

Manchester City Council's licence price includes the cost of MOT tests on vehicles, which Liverpool's does not.

The Manchester drivers claim that by law the council can only charge for the cost of administration, but that council accounts showed that costs for catering, car parking permits and security had also been attached.

Derek Brocklehurst, from Manchester Private Hire Association, said drivers needed "a breakdown of the fees line-by-line".

"There needs to be some questions answered about what we're getting, especially in these hard times," he said.

The council spokesman said the claims were "simply wrong" as "neither Hackney nor private hire drivers are overcharged for licensing fees".

"Our accounts are subjected to rigorous external auditing and no issue has been identified with expenditure or income relating to taxi licensing," he said.

He added that the council were "happy to work with the external auditors to demonstrate that there is nothing amiss about our figures".

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fine for unlicensed taxi driver caught at Stansted Airport.


AN unlicensed private hire driver who picked up a passenger at Stansted Airport has been fined £200 by magistrates and ordered to pay £320 in legal costs.

Barry Meecham, 61, of Latchmore Bank, Great Hallingbury, told a police officer he was doing it as a favour to his wife who did have an Uttlesford District Council (UDC) private hire licence.

Meecham did not attend Chelmsford Magistrates Court today (Wednesday, May 29) or enter a plea to the offence of using a private hire vehicle without a current licence on January 13 this year and magistrates found the case proved in his absence.

Prosecutor Michael Perry, for UDC, told the court a police officer on mobile patrol saw a man with a suitcase waiting near the Radisson Blu Hotel about 8pm and told him he should not be waiting in that area to be picked up. He then saw a Renault Trafic MPV, bearing an UDC licence plate, arrive and the waiting man got in.

The prosecutor said the officer spoke to the driver, Meecham, who said he did not have a private hire licence, but his wife did and it was her business.

"Meecham appeared agitated. He said it was his vehicle, but he was not the registered owner. He couldn't carry the man as a passenger because he had no licence. He said he was doing his wife a favour," said Mr Perry.

He added that Meecham's wife then arrived in another vehicle and she took the customer.

Detectives appeal for information a week after the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby

Detectives investigating the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby exactly a week ago are in Woolwich this afternoon, Wednesday, 29 May 2013, to appeal for information and identify witnesses who may not yet have come forward.

Officers from the MPS Counter Terrorism Command, Greenwich borough and Safer Transport Team, are handing out leaflets and talking to pedestrians, motorists and bus passengers.

The Met and the Security Service continue to work tirelessly and painstakingly to uncover the full circumstances relating to this attack.

We would like to thank the public for their support so far in coming forward with information.

Mr Rigby was walking to the Royal Artillery Barracks in Artillery Place, near to the junction with John Wilson Street, SE18, when he was struck by a blue Vauxhall Tigra registration number N696 JWX. He was then attacked by two men. 



Police want to hear from anyone who may have seen the blue Vauxhall Tigra in the area or witnessed 25-year-old Mr Rigby being attacked at about 14:20hrs.

Officers are also urging anyone who knows the two men who carried out the attack and may have information which may be useful to call the confidential Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.

Anyone who filmed or took photos of the incident are also asked to send the moving or still images to police via woolwich@metincident.co.uk - please include your name and contact details, which will be treated in strict confidence. Anyone who may have such material is asked not to delete it after sending it in. 

The inquest on Mr Rigby will open at Southwark Coroner's Court, 1 Tennis Street, SE1 1YD, at 0900hrs on Friday, 31 May. A post mortem established that the cause of death was from multiple incised wounds.

Yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon a 22-year-old man [A] arrested on 22 May on suspicion of the murder of Lee Rigby was discharged from hospital. He was taken into custody at a south London police station where he remains. 

On arrival at the police station he was further arrested on the suspicion of the attempted murder of a police officer. 

He remains in custody and will be interviewed by detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command.

A 28-year-old man [B] arrested on suspicion of murder under PACE remains in a London hospital.

TAXI BUSINESSES UNDER THREAT.

A Somerset taxi firm is threatening legal action against the local council over its use of volunteer drivers which it says is doing it out of business.

CJW Taxis in Glastonbury says some drivers working on behalf of Somerset County Council should be licensed.


The government says volunteers can receive 45p a mile in expenses up to 10,000 miles. CJW claims some council drivers get paid beyond that limit.

The council said it was reviewing its volunteer drivers scheme.

A spokesman said: "We have written to all our voluntary drivers this week and plan to discuss the situation with them directly.

"Until those talks have taken place, we have nothing further to add at this stage."

Councils rely on a network of volunteer drivers to take those who cannot use public transport to hospitals, clinics and social functions.

In 2012, there were 241 volunteer drivers working on behalf of Somerset County Council.

Figures obtained by BBC Somerset showed that more than half of them drove more than 10,000 miles a year.

Solicitor Paul Lyon, acting on behalf of CJW Taxis, said: "The Department of Transport has made clear that whilst they support volunteer drivers, a genuine volunteer driver is only one who does not receive any profit from its activity.

"The current use of volunteer drivers by Somerset County Council can lead to an interpretation that a profit is being made.


Portsmouth Taxi drivers 200-STRONG petition calling for a cap on taxi licences was handed to Fareham Borough Council last night.



Fareham Hackney Taxi Association claims there are too many taxis in the town.

There are 233 hackney carriages licensed in Fareham. In neighbouring authorities, Portsmouth is capped at 234 and Southampton is capped at 283, although the population of each of the cities is considerably more than that of Fareham.

Fareham removed its cap 27 years ago, when a taxi company threatened the council with legal action unless it made more licences available.

Fareham Hackney Taxi Association said that now is the time to revisit the regulation.

The association claims that there is not enough work for drivers to go round and that income has been affected.

Secretary of Fareham Hackney Taxi Association Mel Charlton, who runs Meon Cars, said: ‘We are asking the council to stop issuing plates and badges.

‘Any business would not employ more people if there wasn’t enough trade and this should be the same at the council.

‘They are absolutely flooding the market.

‘This weekend most people went to Whiteley. If there’s nothing to come to Fareham for, then there will be no demand for taxis. To keep issuing plates goes against any duty of care that the council should have in making sure we can actually earn a living.’

Chairman of Fareham Hackney Taxi Association Simon Nelson said: ‘The proportion of taxis on Fareham compared to the population is a lot higher than in Portsmouth and Southampton. We don’t make a living any more, we just survive.’

Council leader Sean Woodward said: ‘In Portsmouth, the taxi plates are limited which means they change hands for thousands of pounds.

‘We run an unlimited system which is controlled by the market. If people did not think they could make a living then they would not apply.

‘Also, I would ask them, which ones would want to give up their licences if we brought in a cap which was less?’

The licensing committee will consider whether or not to review the figure and implement a cap.

The council said that a cap would cost £15,000 a year to maintain, which would be added to the cabbies’ annual licence fee.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Landmark sex shop licensing ruling holds ‘massive implications’ for TfL.

Westminster City Council has been ordered to repay £1m in fees collected from Soho sex shops, in a legal ruling which could have ‘massive implications’ for licensing authorities around the country.


Boris Johnson recently stated that TfL had put aside £1m out of our license fees to finance an expanded Safer Travel Command unit. That money should now be refunded to drivers who have been overcharged for their licenses.

A written judgement issued today by the Court of Appeal finds Westminster’s policy of charging licensees on a self-funding 'polluter pays' basis breached European Union law.

Prior to the 2009 Provision of Services Regulations, councils were allowed to recover reasonable enforcement costs under the 1982 Local Government Act.

‘Charges for schemes requiring a person to obtain the authorisation of a competent body to have access to or to exercise a service activity must not exceed the cost of authorisation procedures and formalities,’ read the judgment from Lord Dyson, who is Master of the Rolls, Lady Justice Black and Lord Justice Beaston.
Lawyers representing Westminster had argued the decision ran contrary to long-held principles of UK licensing law and misrepresented EU directives in stating the council couldn’t recover enforcement costs from fees levied on premises.

As a result of the ruling, Westminster must now pay back more than £1m in fees previously collected from sex shops and faces an estimated annual shortfall of £350,000 – since charges on sex shop owners will now cost just £1,100 compared with the previous £29,102 annual licence fee.

Cllr Nickie Aiken, Westminster’s cabinet member for public protection and premises said the decision would mean ‘a free for all for the sex industry’ and would have ‘massive implications for local authorities nationwide.

‘This is not just about sex shops, this affects almost everything for which councils charge to carry out enforcement,’ Cllr Aiken added.

‘It will hit everything – including our policing of the grotty hotdog stands that we had forced out of the borough.’
According to Cllr Aiken, Westminster had closed down 68 illegal sex shops since 1999 in Soho – an area renowned as a home for the sex industry on account of its reputation and central location.
Westminster is considering leave to appeal against the judgement.

Council Set To Target Motorists In New Parking Ticket War. Parking Fines Set To Soar

MILLIONS of motorists could be hit by higher parking fines as councils try to force the Government in to relaxing legislation, it emerged yesterday.



Town halls have told MPs that they want an end to restrictions on how they spend takings from the fines. Currently the vast sums of cash can be spent only on transport.

But if local authorities can persuade the Government to relax these rules, they could hike fines in order to use revenue on other projects.

Worried motoring groups warned that, at a time when town halls are being urged to freeze council tax levels, they could be tempted to raise more and more revenue by punishing the already struggling motorist.

Business leaders also warned that if councils bring in less and less free parking, town centre retailers will once again be hit by a dip in trade – at a time when they need help amid the economic turndown.

The British Retail Consortium said: “Banning free parking is exactly the opposite of what our beleaguered high streets need. Local authorities should be treating parking as a service and not as a revenue raiser.”

The call for a relaxation to the rules – also giving councils the green light to bring in even more revenue from parking fines – came in a submission to MPs by the Local Government Association on behalf of the 327 local authorities who control parking on their streets.

It argued: “The LGA has long argued against ring-fencing of particular funds for specific purposes as this limits councils’ ability to make the most appropriate choices for their areas.”

Currently, councils are not allowed to cash in on the money they make from motorists.

Any surplus must be spent on transport projects such as road repairs.

Also, the British Parking Association, which represents private sector firms that issue penalty charges and pursues those who fail to pay them, has called for penalties to be raised every four years.

Charges are capped currently at £70 outside London and at £140 cap within the capital.

However, MPs are aware that any increases would be unlikely to go down well with the voting public.

Councils in England are making more than £400million profit a year from on and off-street parking.

Just a few weeks ago, Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary, called on councils to end what he described as the “over zealous culture of parking enforcement” which he said was damaging the high street.

Last year Mary Portas, the Government’s high street adviser, also called for affordable parking to breathe life into town centres.



EDITORIAL COMMENT:

NSL WARDENS
One good thing that could come out of this is councils such as Westminster and Camden may instruct their wardens to finally start ticketing the lines of minicabs illegally plying for hire at places like Regent Street and Swallow Street. NSL have been seen to be a disgrace by having a policy of refusing to ticket the illegally park cars in this area of central London.

NSL TAXI LICENSING
How come this company won the contract to inspect Taxis and cars for licensing on behalf of LTPH, when they have been shown to be biased I favour of private hire many times in the past couple of years.

LTPH OVERCHARGING
While we are on the subject, there still has been no word from LTPH on the extra £52 overcharged to 2,000 Taxi owners for inspections to vehicles in April. Also  approx 5,500 minicab PHVs were also overcharged that month. LTPH are staying tight lipped on this one, just another reason why we need a Parliamentary inquiry into TfL as soon as possible. I believe the BBC are also interested in this issue besides the forged Badges and Bills.

LTPH are no different than the corrupt Brazilian national Marcos Gurgel, who fraudulently charged Taxi drivers in cash for their bill renewals. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

19-year-old raped after getting in a car outside a night club

Police officers will be on patrol in Windsor tonight after sexual attack on teenager

A TEENAGER was raped in the early hours of this morning in Windsor after a night out.

The 19-year-old left Liquid nightclub, in William Street, just before 3am this morning, to search for a taxi when she was approached by two men in Victoria Street claiming they were driving a taxi.

The victim got into the car in Alexandra Road and when it set off, she was sexually assaulted inside the vehicle.

She managed to escape when the car stopped and ran off.

Police are investigating the report.

Detective Inspector Andy Howard said: "We are in the early stages of this investigation, but I want to assure the public that everything is being done to locate and arrest these offenders.

"Officers will be out on patrol in the centre of Windsor tonight and I urge anyone with any concerns to approach one of our officers."

The two men are described as Asian while the car was a large, black, cab-style vehicle with five seats.

Dep Insp Howard also warned people in the wake of the attack to only use licensed taxis.

He added: "I also want to take this opportunity to urge people to only use licensed taxis. Where possible, book with a licensed taxi company in advance or if that is not possible, remember you can always ask for proof that a vehicle or driver is licensed.

"A licensed vehicle will display a licence plate on the rear of the vehicle and an internal licence plate with the licensing authority. A licensed driver will carry an identity badge with their licence number and licensing authority on it.

"I would urge people not to get into any vehicles that are touted to them and only to use a pre booked taxi or one from a taxi rank.




Anyone with any information about the incident are urged to contact PC Vickie-Jean Duffty on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

Source: The Royal Borough Observer.

EDITORIAL COMMENT:
This type of incident is far too common and is a direct result of the police and licensing authorities turning a blind eye to the lines of cars that illegally ply for hire outside night clubs, not just in London, but all over the country. 

In this particular incident the police added insult to injury by claiming that this type of attack is extremely rare, but as we know from the Met Police's own report (25 attacks per week in central London), it's an all too common occurrence on the streets of the capital. 

The best way to help prevent these attacks is to enforce the Hackney Carriage Act of1854, which clearly state it is illegal to act as a Hackney Carriage without the correct licenses. Both driver and vehicle must be licensed by the licensing authority. Only licensed hackney carriage vehicles can stand (rank) or ply for hire and be hailed, unbooked cars waiting to become hired are illegally acting as hackney carriages. 

Remove the lines of unbooked cars from outside the exits of night venues and stop the sexual assaults and rapes. YES, IT'S THAT SIMPLE. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

There's Still Hope In The World!

Just when you least expect it, ordinary everyday run of the mill people, suddenly and unexpectedly step up to the mark, take control of difficult situations, to perform amazing acts of heroism. 

Cub Scout leader Ingrid Loyau Kennett, put aside her personal safety to administer first aid to a fallen soldier. Gemini Donnelly-Martin and her Mother Amanda, also stepped forward and asked the attackers if they could be by Drummer Lee Rigby's side.

 When Ingrid felt she could do no more for Lee, she used her negotiating skill to try to defuse the situation.


After this amazing act of heroism, Ingrid was asked if she felt scared, she just said "No, better me than a child".

             Taxi leaks would like to dedicate the video below to 
                               the Angles of Woolwich.