Variable speed limits set for M4

Variable mandatory speed limits may start operating between J19 and J20 of the M4 near Bristol as early as Thursday (26 September) as part of the delivery of the managed motorway upgrade scheme, the Highways Agency has confirmed.

The agency plans to open the hard shoulder on the M4 on a trial basis only in coming weeks, before making it fully operational later in the year after the testing and commissioning phase.

Removal of the free recovery service and the subsequent introduction of variable mandatory speed limits on the M5 will follow this autumn.

Highways Agency senior project manager Paul Unwin described activation of the signs on the M4 as “a major milestone” and said road users would notice “a significant difference” in the way traffic is managed on this section of the motorway.

“This is the first time such signals will have been used in the south-west so we are urging drivers to pay attention to the overhead signs and adhere to the speed limits indicated,” he added.

Repute tarnished for running haulage firm via Skype

A Kent haulage boss who attempted to manage transport operations from Canada using video-call service Skype has had his repute severely tarnished.In a decision following a public inquiry in September in Eastbourne, South East traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Denton (pictured) was told how Graham Wilson was sole director and nominated transport manager of Gillingham-based GTW Transport when Vosa carried out a maintenance investigation in October 2012.

What makes a good used truck?

In an upcoming edition of Commercial Motor (3 October), the winners of the inaugural Used Truck Awards will be revealed. The shortlist (CM, 1 August 2013) was drawn up by a panel of experts who proved candid and unforgiving in selecting the contenders; there was little room for sentiment.

Pall-Ex Polska fuels network's growth

Pall-Ex Polska has gone live, becoming the fifth Continental territory within the UK business’s expanding pallet network. Run by KMC Services, it is Pall-Ex’s second Eastern European territory after Pall-Ex Romania, which launched in late 2011. The 19-member network, which began officially operating on 13 September in Poland, joins Pall-Ex Italia, Iberia and France, which went live in May of this year, as part of the enlarged group.

Government to publish update on winter readiness soon

The Department for Transport (DfT) is set to publish arrangements for the allocation of the UK’s strategic salt supply next month, transport minister Norman Baker has said.The update to the strategic salt protocol, setting out both the arrangements for the allocation of strategic salt and the price per tonne, should be published in early October, Baker stated recently.

BMC's UK future in doubt

The Turkish government's seizure of its national truck and coach maker BMC has put the brand's future in the UK in doubt, according to the marque's UK and Ireland importer Pelican Engineering.BMC, which makes commercial vehicles, municipal and military vehicles and bus and coaches, was seized in May 2013 by Turkey’s Savings Deposit Insurance Fund, which is the governing body for fund management and insurance in the Turkish banking system.

One off auction of Volvo trucks next week

Manheim will host a one-off auction of vehicles from Volvo Trucks next week at its Leeds site.Peter Groome, used truck director at Volvo Trucks, said the sale at Leeds next Thursday (3 October 2013) for 28 tractor units is designed to pull in operators who might not buy directly from the manufacturer or its dealer network. 

Daf launches Euro-6 LF and CF Construction range

Daf has launched its LF and CF Construction truck models, following on from the global launch of the its Euro-6 tractor-units at this year's Commercial Vehicle Show. The construction version of Daf’s CF features a distinctive black grill that the manufacturer describes as “displaying strength”.