Vosa's cabotage crackdown must not be allowed to fail
It's not often you see a new law taking effect immediately with impressive enforcement figures to back it up.
However, the new cabotage regime seems to have worked surprisingly well.
*Vosa has checked more than 6,000 foreign vehicles a month since the regime's introduction in mid May
*It has issued 323 £200 fixed penalty notices, having found 449 offences.
* Law breakers have been sent home along with the message that cabotage enforcement is taken seriously in Britain.
Since May international hauliers tipping in another member state can carry out three domestic jobs in seven days - then they must leave. A number have now applied for GB licences so they can operate legitimately within these shores.
The Road Haulage Association lobbied hard for the fixed penalty notice and an extra £24m over three years to boost enforcement against foreign truckers. The industry should lobby hard to keep this cash and not allow Vosa's good work to slip back.
The decisions to boost enforcement were taken by the previous government. Now that we are living in an era of rampant, ( and often counter-productive) cutbacks the money is by no means safe.
Will the EC bin biofuels?
With oil fast running out biofuel seemed the answer to our energy prayers.
Unfortunately, evidence is mounting that its production wreaks havoc in protected areas.
The European Parliament's Environment Committee told the European Commission of:
- Destruction of Kenya's Dakatcha woodlands, an important birdlife area
- Displacement of families from their land in East Africa
- Destruction of rain forests
As Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies said, "If we are doing more harm than good then we should stop doing it."
The EC's policy is to shift 20% of European petrol and diesel consumption to biofuels by 2020. A rethink of this policy must be on the cards.
An apocryphal story tells of an inventor who designed a motor vehicle to run on water. Legend has it that the oil interests paid him to shelve this revolutionary, yet simple, idea. Maybe we need to find that blueprint again.