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Let’s Go Driving In 2016

Happy New Year. Here we go again. Did you know that councils – in England alone – trousered 667 million quid from street parking fines last year? That’s up by 12% on the previous year. I hope the knowledge that nothing has changed for motorists doesn’t blight your bright expectations for the next twelve months.

The councils and ‘authorities’ who perpetrate this sort of covert money-grabbing will trot out the usual ‘reasons’ for their actions but they know and we know that this is about revenue. Certainly there are good reasons for monitoring parking (just as there are for speeding) otherwise there would be a free-for-all, but, generally, drivers get a raw deal. I find this cynicism a bit sickening if I’m honest.

That’s why I’m giving a chap called Joshua Browder a shout. To help out friends and neighbours he built a website called donotpay.co.uk to assist in appealing unfair parking fines. Well, as you can imagine, this has really taken off. As a result nearly forty percent of appellants were successful.

Browder said that, in particular, “The elderly and the disabled are disproportionately receiving unfair tickets. The council has a responsibility to protect these groups rather than target them and it is rewarding to being doing something to work towards that.” Good for him. There’s a website you can bookmark.

In 2016 then you can expect more speed cameras, more average speed cameras (particularly nasty) and more parking fines as councils garner more cash to spend on less services. Are we, as motorists, downhearted though? Hell no! In this brave New Year let’s go driving. I’m certainly planning to and will be be road-testing some very interesting cars as well as driving my own happy little shuttle more often. It’s been feeling neglected apparently.

Despite all the mealy-mouthed nay-sayers and all the targeted regulations surely one of life’s greater pleasures is rolling the wheels out over our glorious countryside, drinking it in as B-roads and lanes unwind before us across billowing fields and hills, flecked with sheep and bathed in dappled sunlight. Well, it would be if only it would stop raining.

The Dementors can’t be everywhere. There are still places in the UK where you can drive in peace and just enjoy the sensations of piloting your vehicle and the things that you witness. Speeding isn’t necessary; lunacy not required. By all means put your foot down when occasion demands, just don’t give ‘them’ an excuse to put their sweaty hands in your pocket. Exercise your right to drive. Geoff Maxted