But, by God, it hangs around for a long time.
It’s 16 October. The trees are only just turning yellow. The clocks don’t go back for another few weeks. Bonfire night is still a way off. And I just saw (last night) the first Christmas advert on TV. In the last week, I saw my first Christmas tree in someone’s front room while I was on a lesson. And I’m pretty damned sure that the lights in someone’s window and outside their house when I picked my pupil up for her lesson tonight were Christmas lights.
People are idiots.
Finally got there!
The blog received its 1,000,000th visitor earlier this evening.
I started it in November 2008 and got 7 visitors that month. December of that year saw 28, but by May 2009 we were into the thousands. The trend has been upwards ever since, and the blog currently gets around 20,000 visits a month.
A lot of people are finding this article based on the search term “UKCPS scam”. I’m seeing another surge close to Christmas 2018, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise. My experience most definitely WAS in a UKCPS car park, so read on and don’t be put off by the fact I didn’t identify it as such in the title – at the time I had no idea UKCPS were such cowboys.
After seeing this story in the newsfeeds I thought I’d mention something that happened to me in late 2013. In fact, I mentioned it in this article back in January of 2014, but there’s a bit of a follow up.
In December 2013, I went to see Status Quo at the new Leeds Arena. I picked up my mate (let’s call him Bob) from his house just outside Leeds and we drove into the City Centre. Bob directed me to the Edward Street car park not far away from the Arena and we parked there. This car park has ANPR cameras that detect your registration number as you drive in, and you have to enter your registration into the ticket machine – if it doesn’t match what the ANPR system picked up you apparently don’t get a ticket. I paid using my debit card (which turned out to be a wise move). There was only one price available at the time from the machine – the £8.50 overnight charge – in spite of a list of hourly tariffs being shown on signs. We arrived at shortly before 6pm and drove out at just after 11pm, where ANPR cameras apparently once again log your exit.
As we walked to the Arena, Bob told me that a few weeks earlier his wife (let’s call her Sarah) had been Christmas shopping and parked in that same car park. A few days later she was stung with a fine for “insufficient fee paid”. Now, Sarah isn’t the kind of person to take things lying down, and in any case she’d kept the receipts proving that she had paid the correct amount. She kicked up a stink and they dropped the charge. It was normal chit-chat, and I didn’t think much of it after that.
I lease my school car and the arrangement is that any traffic fines are automatically paid by the lease agent (most lease companies operate this way, I believe) if an infringement is submitted to them. This avoids the fine escalation if you don’t pay within 14 days. Anyway, in January I got a letter from my lease company informing me that they had paid a fine submitted by UKCPS (United Kingdom Car Parking Solutions). I was spitting feathers (this is another one of the things that can create stress in this job) because I hadn’t done anything wrong.
I immediately wrote an appeal to UKCPS. I also wrote to Leeds City Council, because I didn’t realise at the time that the car park in question was a private one, but all this did was teach me what a bunch of dickheads work there. The Council told me it wasn’t their problem (it seems Leeds has a similar bunch of morons in charge that Nottingham does). I pointed out in my letter to UKCPS that they KNEW I had entered the car park, they KNEW I had left it, and they KNEW how much I had paid. Furthermore, since I’d paid by debit card, my bank statement was proof of how much I’d paid. There was no reply after 20 days. I wrote a further harshly-worded letter demanding a response from them within 14 days, which was not forthcoming. I then phoned them on the number that says not to use it for claims, and they said immediately that they’d refund it. I never had to provide proof of the amount I’d paid, and I eventually got my money back in February.
I stress again that UKCPS KNEW I had paid the right amount. Their ANPR system and ticket machine would tell them that clearly. And they asked for no proof when I phoned them, which suggests they were well aware of enough information – either from my letters that they’d ignored, or via said systems – to immediately admit they were wrong. So it doesn’t take a genius to work out what they were up to, particularly when you consider they’d tried the exact same thing with Bob’s wife. I’m updating this at Christmas 2018, which is further evidence: they try this same scam every year.
In fact, if you Google “UKCPS insufficient fee” – which I did when I appealed – you find that the same scam has been pulled on hundreds, if not thousands, of other innocent members of the public. Take a look at this single link – particularly the reviews on the left hand side, where 16 out of 17 reviewers have had the same scam pulled on them and most appear to have coughed up! The hits that Google throws up are mainly the ones where people have actually tried to do something about it. It’s anyone’s guess how many others have blindly paid up thinking they made a mistake. UKCPS is cashing in on the fact that it knows a significant number of people won’t appeal. So they’re either scam artists, or are so incompetent that they make a lot of “mistakes”.
UKCPS are the sort of vermin who, until the Law changed making it illegal, would have happily clamped everyone who parked in their car park. The Law now needs to change to put these thieving parasites out of business for good. You will note that their (crap and amateurish) website graphics imply that they manage car parking for Tesco, Harveys, and Boots, since these are featured.
And Leeds City Council needs a good slap to remind it that it cannot just shake off all responsibility for cowboy operators in their City.
More recently (mid-2016) I had a run of hits on this story. I did a bit more reading and it would appear that UKCPS is becoming less likely to accept an appeal on the first contact. Perhaps their owner – who is still not behind bars where he belongs, based on the false charges his scumbag company has brought against innocent people – is worried that his profits are not increasing as much as he’d like, so he’s ordered the parasites who work for him to put up a defence.
Don’t be put off. UKCPS’ false charge scheme IS a scam, sanctioned by the city councils who allow UKCPS to operate within their boundaries.
If you know you were not guilty, don’t pay – and argue like mad. Often, and hard. Just don’t ignore the charge notice.
Is UKCPS a scam parking operator?
Well, me and my mate’s wife have direct experience of the kind of things they get up to. But take a look at these links:
These are a tiny sample. Try Googling for “UKCPS parking scam” or “UKCPS Ltd parking ticket” and see what you get. There are hundreds and hundreds of people like you who these cretins are trying to intimidate (including disabled people parking in disabled bays that these gutter trash operate). That Responsive link sums it up nicely by pointing out that UKCPS usually backs down at the first appeal – and that’s because they know that they can make money from those who don’t appeal. You don’t need to be a genius to work out if it’s a scam or not.
Are UKCPS fines legitimate?
There is no straight answer to this. In my opinion, they are not – and that explains why anyone appealing to UKCPS, and making sure the appeal is heard (i.e. don’t let them just ignore you) appears to get the fine refunded or overturned rather easily.
UKCPS are scammers, that’s for sure. They seem to operate on the principle that if they issue 100 bogus fines, only a small minority of people are likely to complain and see the complaint through. Even if only one person out of that hundred didn’t appeal, they’re making money. But I suspect that more like 80% of people simply pay up and leave it at that.
If someone ever had the desire and the money to take them to court, I think we’d find out rather quickly just how legitimate these cowboys are.
Should I just ignore the fine?
No, don’t do that. By all means, withhold payment while you contest it, but don’t just ignore it. These scammers walk a very fine line between being legal and illegal, and they know full well what they’re doing. If you ignore it, they’ll likely pass it over to debt collectors, and the amount you owe will go up by hundreds of pounds (you must have seen the Bailiffs programmes on TV).
Just fight the putrid parasites on their own terms.
Is UKCPS a legitimate company?
Unfortunately, yes. There is a big question mark over the legality of their business practices, however. There is a also a big question mark over the role of councils such as Leeds City Council, who are effectively authorising this illegal behaviour – presumably because UKCPS pays them money in order to keep operating. The list of
scumbags directors who operate UKCPS are given as:
- Ms Helen Claire Hilton
- Ms Lorraine Doyle
- Mr Gary Deegan (twice)
- Mr Michael Bullock
Someone dumped a baby rabbit in Bestwood. Its mother died, but it was rescued. It’s the cutest little thing.
Knowing Bestwood and its denizens, I’m surprised they dumped the rabbit. Most of them would have eaten it – and the box it was in, as well.
And I promise to stop posting this sort of cutesy stuff. If I’m not careful, I’ll be posting blurred selfies of me with a trout-pout.
And someone sent me this picture of a sleeping kitten. This amount of cuteness should be illegal.
My favourite breed of dog is the Husky, but you rarely see Husky puppies. Until I came across this.
Any half decent driver will already be aware of the shocking behaviour of many people who use the roads. If you drive for a living – especially if you are considered to be a “professional” driver – apart from the fact that you use the roads more and you see more, you’re also likely to notice more.
Regular readers will know that I often publish registration numbers of people I’ve witnessed behaving badly on the roads. It makes me feel a lot better, and the jackasses involved can’t really make an issue out of it because I simply state the truth – they were driving as I describe (and the camera doesn’t lie). However, two similar events this morning got me wondering if the owners of companies are aware of the potential damage being done to their businesses by the Neanderthals they seem to employ to drive their vehicles.
These companies probably spend a fortune in time and money on advertising, a decent website, or a lot of arseing about on social media (I’ve never understood how a “professional” can migrate their entire business to Facebook – it’s almost as logical as my previous “professional” company’s decision to switch their official font from Times New Roman to Comic Sans), and yet the negative impact just one monkey in one of their vans can have doesn’t seem to be something they even consider.
Speaking for myself, I will quite happily boycott a company (or a particular outlet) if I get poor service. For example, I will never again set foot in the new McDonalds branch in Clifton as a result of the absolutely crap service from the moment it opened. For similar reasons, I will never use KFC in Colwick, because if there is even one person (or car) in the queue you’re looking at a minimum 10-minute wait (longer in most cases) per person, most of it because the spotty-faced oiks who frequent most KFC branches get to the front of the queue before even starting to consider what they might want. The drive-thru ordering intercom is frequently broken (i.e. vandalised) and the zit-faces in the queue will still take 10 minutes to order while another zit-face on the till writes it all down – and you know that this time the absence of multitasking via the ordering computer means that they will only start to process each order after the piece of paper has been transferred, and after the previous order has been completed. As soon as you see the notepad and pencil being used, that’s the cue to reverse out and go to Greggs, instead.
There are numerous fish and chip shops I won’t use because they’ve never got anything ready. I’ve come to the conclusion that those awards for “best chippie” they all have splurged across banners outside have about as much value as the NVQs my previous company used to issue to shop floor staff for proving they could walk and chew gum at the same time (“equivalent to an ‘A’ Level”, they used to say). They can’t all be “the best”. The only way a chip shop can hope to get one of these meaningless awards for “best chips” is if they cook each batch to order, and you know that that’s exactly what they’re doing it when you see half a dozen or more people standing around inside waiting like a scene out of Dawn of the Dead – which defeats the whole point of going for some chips in the first place. One thing you don’t want to hear when you walk into a chippie is “can I take your order, please?” It means they are putting you in a queue instead of just scooping some ready-prepared chips into a paper bag (Captain Cod on Perry Road, take note). Some of them will try to take your money before informing you that “we’re just waiting for chips”, and it’s got to the point where I specifically ask “have you got chips ready?” when I walk in. If they haven’t I walk out again.
Sandwich shops can be even worse. Often run by a single person, there’s every likelihood that when you go into one she (it’s usually a she) will be trying to fulfil a telephone order for the local building site, and will be in the middle of frying 300 rashers of bacon and 100 eggs on an underpowered electric hob using a normal-sized non-stick frying pan (I’m not making that up, either – Greedy Guts on Woodborough Road take note). You might get a sideways glance from her (or him) if you’re lucky, (The Cob Shop on Andover Road and Munch Bites on Nottingham Road, both in Basford, and Spoilt For Choice on Cinder Hill Road take note). And there’s usually some filthy-looking retard standing in the doorway smoking wherever you go, and I absolutely detest the smell of cigarettes when I’m around food.
But I digress. If they were the types of companies I was ever likely to use, Aspley Workwear and Midland Commercial Cleaners would now be on my list of places never to do business with. And all because of the most horrendous behaviour by respective drivers of two of their vans this week. Undertaking, speeding, and tail-gating are three things that do it for me.
I’ve noticed that the newspapers are increasingly relying on “selfie” photos when they’re reporting on various stories. It must save them a fortune being able to harvest pictures from social media pages operated by the people they’re writing about instead of having to send a reporter out and take an actual photograph.
What bugs me about selfies is that they always involve an identical pose by the immature and socially inept female being written about. It occurred to me that there might be a market for a selfie kit, consisting of some oversized plastic lips and a pair of clip-on doe eyes. The image above is a collection of the first photos which come up when you Google the word “selfies” (just out of interest, you have to scroll quite a way down to find any male selfies).
I don’t use Facebook much (or Twitter – and I don’t use any of the other social networking sites at all), but the fact that I have an account means that I get almost daily spam alerting to me to people “who I might know”. It’s quite spooky that a lot of the time I actually DO know them. And all of the females have their albums plastered with these bloody pictures – every single one of them conforming to the same contrived pose. And none of the ones I know look anything like they do in their selfies.
It was while I was looking for pictures of fake plastic lips pictures and clip-on doe eyes that I discovered someone got in there before me, albeit in a different way – and this might easily explain why so many of these pictures look the same. It turns out you can buy suction devices which are designed to make bigger pouts! One listing on eBay contains no fewer than 20 photos showing such a device, how to use it, and the results you apparently get – including a load of selfies.
It says that you might suffer bruising, which isn’t surprising. Basically, it’s the equivalent of a love bite (or hickey). And you look a complete prat while you’re using it.
It suddenly reminded me of something that happened when I was about six. You used to be able to buy a cough sweet called Zubes which, if my memory is correct, were strange grey-coloured lozenges with black centres (like a sugar pill which had then been sugar coated). I have mixed memories of them tasting bloody horrible, since they contained Aniseed (which I hate), but with an animated TV advert featuring a horse, I think, and the strap line “go suck a Zube”. It seems you can still get them, but they come in a bag now. But back in those days they came in a sturdy round metal tin. One day, and in typical six-year old fashion, I was playing with an empty tin and I remember putting it over my mouth and sucking so that it stuck to my face. Also in typical six-year old fashion, I kept it there for some time. When I eventually released the vacuum I almost shit myself when I saw that my lips were about four times bigger than before. They stayed like that for an hour or two, though I was firmly convinced I was going to look like Mick Jagger forever.
Back then, a selfie – if anyone had been inclined to waste the limited number of potential shots on their roll of film – would have required a trip to the chemists with a Kodak cartridge, and the certain knowledge that 80% of your pictures wouldn’t “come out” when you went to pick them up a week later, because the Instamatic you’d used could only focus on objects between 2 metres and ∞, and those that did would show pretty much everything except your face (blurred thumbs, trees, next door’s cat, and so on).
It’s also worth noting that the standard selfie is taken from a slightly elevated perspective in order to also take in an exaggerated cleavage. There are plenty of well-documented ways of enhancing that part of the body already, so we only need to focus on the lips and eyes part. I am convinced that many selfie poses have been Photoshopped to make the person’s eyes look bigger. It’s so easy to do.
And it’s even easier when you consider that there are dozens of apps out there which are specifically designed to enlarge the eyes in selfie images! Better still, there are apps to enlarge the lips, too. That was something else I discovered while I was writing this.
In a nutshell, it seems that the reason all those selfies look the same is that the idiots posting them actually HAVE taken steps to enlarge their lips and their eyes.
The story below is from 2009. A more recent one (January 2016), which has generated renewed interest in the subject, suggests that scientists have found a way to make the old-style bulb more energy efficient (better than LEDs). I should point out – since the Daily Mail skims over it – that it is only “proof of concept”. Such bulbs are not being manufactured yet, and I would suggest that they are years away – and they may not even make it to market. For one thing, they will still “burn out”, whereas LED bulbs don’t.
The Daily Mail has outdone itself – and that’s really saying something where this middle-class rag is concerned. The humble incandescent light bulb has been around for nearly 200 years (or 130 years if you believe that Thomas Edison invented them first). It’s a long time by any standard.
The typical filament-based light bulb is extremely inefficient – most of the energy used to power it is wasted as heat, and they don’t last very long. The 40 watt bulb my desk lamp used to take typically lasts a couple of months before I hear the familiar ‘plink’ when I try to turn it on. However, the fluorescent energy-saving bulb I switched to had been in for almost a year and no problems at all. Of course, fluorescent bulbs only use around a fifth of the energy that an incandescent one needs to get the same light output.
The EU has determined that incandescent bulbs will be phased out by 2012, and the UK has targeted 2011 – by which time retailers will only be offering energy-saving versions to customers. The move would save something like $12bn (£8bn) a year throughout the EU , and cut down massively on greenhouse gas emissions.
The problem here is the term ‘ EU ‘. You see, any time the letters ‘e’ and ‘u’ appear next to each other in that order is guaranteed to turn the Mail’s hacks apoplectic with rage. This is then quickly followed by a Zimmer frame frenzy as the Mail’s Tory-voting readers jump on the bandwagon. This light bulb situation is a prime example. I mean, how dare those damned Johnny Foreigners try and tell we True Brits what to do? This is the Mail’s approach to just about everything: oppose Europe, and blame Europe. For everything (after you’ve blamed Tony Blair (yes, even after all this time), the Labour party, and anyone or anything else you don’t like) . It’s one reason why we’re still bloody well stuck with an antiquated weights and measures fiasco, when the Metric System is sitting there just begging to be used. It’s also why we’re not in the Euro (€) like we should be.
But anyway, the Mail published the story back in 2009 and said it had bought something like 50,000 of these bulbs to give away to punters. It has changed its tune a bit the next day due to being overwhelmed by middle-class morons anxious for a freebie and has had to limit its offer.
But never one to give up on an anti-Europe crusade, the Mail then embarked on a crusade against energy-saving bulbs (a further push was made in the print version of the paper).
To be honest, fluorescent bulbs are not the future. LED is the way to go.
Maplin Electronics (or loads of sellers on eBay) sell a range of flexible, high-brightness LED strips . I’m using one right now to light my computer desk – they operate off 12V and have a power consumption of about 2.5W (that’s less than a quarter of what a fluorescent bulb needs). And they have a lifetime of 100,000+ hours ( over 11 years ) continuous operation.
You can also buy LED bulbs with a standard screw or bayonet fitting to run from a standard light socket. When I wrote this article back in 2009 they were still quite expensive – something like £25 each – but I predicted that the price would fall. As of January 2016 you can pick them up for little more than £3 and considering that each will last for perhaps 50 years if run for 6 hours a day I don’t think that this is a bad price.
As I mentioned at the start of this updated article, scientists in America have produced incandescent bulbs in the lab which are more efficient than LED ones. It strikes me as an odd thing to do – it’s like trying to make a steam engine fly in spite of all the drawbacks associated with steam engines!
Incandescent bulbs have more issues than just being inefficient. They’re fragile, and the filament gets very hot so it inevitably burns out. From what I have read, I would expect the modified bulbs to burn out even quicker.
I’ve mentioned before that Nottingham City Council (NCC) seems to be out to ruin this city. Nottingham is filthy. There is litter everywhere, the roads are full of potholes, and white lines are barely visible on most of them. Designs for new office buildings only seem to be acceptable if they’re submitted in wax crayon by local children, and no new building is permitted to bear even the slightest resemblance to any previously approved design, even if the two are going to be adjacent (or even connected) to one another. Symmetry is out, and the non-glass parts are painted in light colours which look dirty after the first storm (magnolia seems to be the favourite choice), and which start to peel after a year or so. Many have gaudy plastic facades designed to fade dramatically on first exposure to sunlight or pigeon shit. The preferred asymmetry provides ample nesting space for pigeons, who move in before the tenants do. Buildings are only let to companies which allow their employees to stick crap all over the windows on the inside. And at least 80% of any new builds must be student accommodation.
But this still isn’t enough for them.
A while back I wrote about the NCC’s proposals for a “blanket” 20mph speed limit on urban roads. I made the point that 20mph is far too slow in most places.
In the absence of any clear reason for introducing them so widely, NCC came up with the following idiotic list:
- streets more cycle and pedestrian friendly
- greater community ownership of streets and parks
- improved air quality
- safer road junctions
- reduced traffic noise
- minimal effect on journey times
- potential reduction in number and severity of accidents
As you can see, in NCC’s eyes 20mph limits are pretty much able to turn base metals into gold. In reality, these reasons range from the stupid (i.e. “community ownership”) to the downright wrong (driving at 20mph instead of 30mph may result in 8% fewer emissions, but the car is present for 30% more time; and journey times take 30% longer). However, at the time it was merely “a proposal” – which is council prat-speak for something which has already been decided, and it was only after they realised that they’d better do it properly that “a formal consultation” was arranged. I duly completed this and sent it back.
Before I continue, let’s understand that 20mph speed limits directly outside schools make perfect sense. But virtually anywhere else – and I include many roads quite near schools, and certainly sixth form colleges (where the attendees are technically adults) and shopping areas – they are completely unnecessary. They’re yet another manifestation of the nanny-state mentality of the very naive people who worm their way into politics and highly-paid council jobs.
What I didn’t realise when I completed the consultation was that identical ones tailored by area were being conducted in many other locations. More on that later.
Now, no one in their right mind – and especially if they drive a car – would ever agree to a blanket 20mph speed limit on roads. On the other hand, the kind of people whose brains turned to mush the instant they became parents, those who don’t (or can’t) drive, and certain people with a spandex fetish who favour two wheels would quite probably agree to it without question. It would not surprise me in the least to discover that the council deliberately targeted these groups when it sent out its consultations, but even if it didn’t I would be extremely dubious about the council’s claims concerning the response. As I say, they had already decided to introduce 20mph speed limits, and even if 100% of respondents were against the idea it wouldn’t have changed things.
Bearing this in mind, here is the council response sent out a few weeks ago announcing the “result”:
Dear Sir / Madam,
Having provided feedback as part of the formal consultation process previously I am now writing to inform you of the decision made by the Portfolio Holder of Planning and Transportation regarding the 20mph speed limit proposals for the [named] area.
The consultation period for these proposals ran from the 1st November 2013 and concluded on the 22nd November 2013 and the advertisement ran from the 15th October 2014 to the 12th November 2014. All comments and objections received during this time were forwarded to the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transportation to enable a final decision to be made on the future of the scheme. All of this information has now been considered by Councillor Urquhart and on balance it was decided that the scheme be approved and implemented accordingly.
All A and B roads in the area will remain at their existing speed limits. This includes the [named road], [named road], [named road] and [named road]. Please see the enclosed plan which shows these roads highlighted in black. Furthermore all private roads will retain their existing limits. Please be assured that we will continue to monitor accidents on all roads within the area and consider additional road safety measures where appropriate.
All remaining roads on the attached plan will be included in the 20mph speed limit.
The Road Safety Team
Just to clarify: the “Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transportation” is Jane Urquhart. I’ve mentioned her before, and I will mention her again when I get on to the subject of the tram and other road works in subsequent articles.
The idiots had already started introducing 20mph speed limits before the consultation was even initiated, and I am certain that it was negative public reaction to these suddenly springing up which made them decide that they’d better “consult” over it. They started putting in those traffic monitoring devices on all the roads where they planned to cut the limits. The supposed purpose of this was to try and fit real data into the RoSPA guidelines for where 20mph limits are recommended, one of which is that roads should already have average speeds below a certain level. The irony here was that the council’s complete and utter incompetence over the tram extension and “ring road improvements” had already caused virtual gridlock throughout the city, and any average speed measured now was completely non-representative of normal traffic flows. Many of the roads being monitored were at a standstill for large parts of the day during the monitoring period, whereas previously they had been free-flowing. In summary:
- the council was going to introduce a blanket 20mph limit anyway
- following criticism, it set out to retrospectively obtain data to support that decision
- the data were flawed since they did not represent normal traffic flows
- the council made the the decision that it was going to make in the first place
I was only aware of the changes in my area, and I hadn’t allowed for the size of the “blanket” the imbeciles were planning to throw over the city. Having ignored (I am sure) true public response, as of March 2015 it is impossible to drive for more than a few minutes without encountering a 20mph zone. And this is where the unforeseen problems arise.
First of all, drivers only discover that a road in any area outside the one they were “consulted” about has a 20mph limit imposed by driving on it – and only then if they notice the signs. For someone like me, who (and I don’t mean this to sound big-headed) is an experienced professional driver, it comes as a bloody great surprise to turn into a road I have driven hundreds of times before only to discover it is now 20mph, and I will not disguise the fact that I have been caught out several times – including on lessons – where roads that were 30mph in the morning (and had been for the last 30 years) were suddenly 20mph in the afternoon. God only knows how other drivers will handle it (and judging by how many of them overtake me and my pupils every day, we have a good idea on what the answer to that one might be).
Secondly, their stupid “blanket” has a lot of holes in it. If you take North Gate/Haydn Road in Basford/Carrington/Sherwood as an example (a single straight road about a mile long), you encounter a 20mph sign as you turn in, a 30mph sign at the first junction, a 20mph sign a few hundred metres after the second junction, and a 30mph sign at the end. If you turn off into any side street while you’re on the 30mph stretch then you encounter a 20mph sign. A more complex route on several roads – turning left, right, left, right, and so on – can easily present a speed limit change at virtually every turn. It is dangerous beyond belief.
Then there is the appalling inconsistency of the signage. NCC – being peopled by idiots similar to those I used to work for – appears to have separate highways departments for putting up the big signs (at the start of a zone), putting up the posts they’re fitted to, putting up the small repeater signs (which appear throughout the zone), and for removing the old ones. In almost every case they erected the repeater signs before the main ones, and they didn’t take the old ones down immediately. On The Wells Road, for example, the old 30mph sign just after Ransom Road remained for several weeks after all the others had been put up (and it might still be there, as I haven’t been that way for a while). Similarly, on many roads it was weeks before the main signs went up after the repeaters had. There was absolutely no coordination and no haste. The Wells Road example (and it wasn’t the only one I encountered) caused massive confusion for my pupils on several lessons until I realised what they had done.
The “blanket” – however many holes it has in it – is huge, and the number of new signs required must run into the thousands. Apart from the cost, and the already mentioned confusion for drivers at the myriad changes on a once simple journey, the chances of there being a signage error are now that much greater.
To the best of my knowledge, the police have said that they will not enforce these limits. They hardly have enough personnel to enforce the existing ones, so covering these 20mph ones is pretty much a non-starter. But if they did, the danger created by having drivers forever on guard for the next change would be enormous.
The icing on the cake is that, certainly at the present, the “blanket” policy only applies to the city area – the boroughs haven’t applied it. Now, don’t think that “city” means a small circle in the middle and “borough” means a bigger one outside. Nottingham’s boundaries are far from symmetrical, and Clifton – which is about 5 miles from the centre – falls within the city limits, whereas West Bridgford – half the distance away from the centre – is part of a borough. Furthermore, unless you have a suitable map, you would never know where one boundary ends and another begins, as they are political and not geographical. None of West Bridgford’s side streets are marked as 20mph, but virtually all the city ones (and many of the larger roads) are. This detail means that the chance of meeting multiple or confusing speed limits on a short journey is higher still.
Then we come back to the matter of 20mph as a speed in its own right. It is too slow. It is not easy to adhere to it in the first place on a wide and clear road – even if you’re trying – and especially not over extended distances. If you drop below it by a couple of mph, half of the drivers in the city are trying to get past or sounding their horns at you (and although they are still in the wrong, you can understand their frustration). If the police ever did enforce it, they would catch a lot of people who weren’t actually “speeders”, but who were still technically speeding. Assuming that the they followed the ACPO guidelines of 10% + 2mph, a speed of 24mph would get you a ticket, but from what I can gather Nottinghamshire police do not use the ACPO guidelines. That means even 22mph could get you a ticket, points, and perhaps a ban if you’re a new driver who has already got one violation against your name. I have no doubt that at some stage we will see the tap on this particular cash cow turned on, especially since very few people appear to be making even the slightest attempt to stick to 20mph in these areas. NCC will be anxious to avoid having to do a u-turn over its policy, so enforcement is the next logical step for them.