Parking, Scottish referendum, airport testing and gritting roads

Penalty charge notices affixed to several cars left in restricted parking bays on a road near Gatwic

Newham Council wants to base its parking permit charges on emissions - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Majority against parking charge

Husen Khandhia, Newham, full address supplied, wrote to the mayor and councillors: 

I am pleased to hear that you are holding an extraordinary meeting to discuss the new car taxes.

Thank you to the brave 30 councillors who signed the letter and helped fight against this misleading tax. I will remember this when I visit the ballot box in 2022.

For the councillors who didn’t sign this letter, I ask you to consider the voices of over 9,000 fellow residents who signed the petitions against this tax. 

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We all want clean air so please install thousands of electric charging points. Do not tax us for not having an electric vehicle when you haven’t yet implemented adequate infrastructure to help us make the change. I struggle to understand how you think this is a fair and clever policy.

The overwhelming majority of residents were against the new tax in the consultations, and now the majority of councillors are opposed to its immediate implementation too, so if the Mayor were to ignore this, then democracy is dead in our borough.

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We cannot afford these charges

T Hussain, Newham, full address supplied, writes:

I am a resident living and working in Newham. Since childhood Newham has been my borough. 

It is ridiculous how the council cons the residents in Newham.

Instead of appreciating us we get conned with all the parking charges and new cameras being put up without any notice. The roads have potholes in them and now these new emission charges have been introduced without any say from us residents.

We want this to be stopped. 

We cannot afford this anymore, it is enough.

Separatists bid for new referendum

Will Podmore, Clavering Road, Wanstead, writes:

Scotland’s attorney general told its highest court in Edinburgh on January 21 that the pro-separatist campaigner Martin Keatings seeking a ruling that the Scottish parliament can lawfully hold a second ‘independence’ referendum unilaterally has no legal standing, and so cannot bring the case.

The SNP has been fighting to stop any legal ruling on whether it can call a second referendum without the agreement of the British parliament – because it knows what the answer is likely to be. 

Under the Scotland Act 1998, the devolved administration only has a mandate for devolved matters, while the ‘Union of the Kingdoms of Scotland and England’ is a matter reserved to the British parliament.

The SNP has pledged a second referendum as part of its campaign for the May election. Keatings’ advocate told the court on Friday that voters were entitled to know “whether that claim can actually be carried out or whether it’s just bluff and bluster”. 

The case reveals the SNP’s weakness. Its official position is that a win in the May election on a platform including the promised bill on holding a referendum would give it a mandate to override the British government’s opposition. So a legal ruling that it cannot do this would be a blow to its ambitions.

But many of its activists – quite plausibly – do not believe this tactic will work. Instead they want to hold their own, unofficial, illegal referendum as a prelude to issuing a unilateral (and illegal) declaration of secession.

There has already been a (lawful) referendum on this matter. In 2014 the people of Scotland, in what all sides accepted at the time as a ‘once-in-a-generation’ vote, voted by 55.3 per cent to 44.7pc to stay in the UK. Separatist attempts to re-run the vote echo certain other subsequent examples (on both sides of the Atlantic).

Mandatory Covid tests at airports

A passenger walks past a sign for the covid testing centre in the Arrival Hall of Terminal 5 at Lond

A passenger walks past a sign for the Covid testing centre in the Arrival Hall of Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Dr Alison Moore, Londonwide Assembly member, writes:

It has been welcome to see the government finally take action to tighten up Covid-19 security measures at our capital’s airports.

However, ministers have had 10 months to act on this and their dither and delay has significantly set back our efforts to contain the virus.

If the controls at our ports of entry are not strong enough, the increased spread of Covid-19 across borders will lead to the development of more strains like the ones we have seen in South Africa and Brazil. In turn, this could compromise our national vaccination programme.

It is a positive step forwards that travel corridors have been banned and that a new requirement has been put in place for those arriving into the country to take a test five days after landing, or to self-isolate for 10 days.

But the government should now go further and follow the lead of countries with substantially lower case rates, such as South Korea and Australia, by also introducing mandatory testing at airports with a more robust quarantining system as an added layer of protection.

Keeping roads clear of ice

Mayor Philip Glanville, Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, writes: 

London boroughs are prepared for the winter season with 75,000 tonnes of salt available at key locations across the capital for quick and easy access to deal with the challenge of frozen roads and pavements.

In colder months, boroughs take responsibility for helping to ensure their most important routes are free of frost and ice and safe to use. Highway teams continue to monitor high-tech weather forecasts, ready to treat the roads and pavements with salt as soon as conditions demand it. 

Councils will be keeping people up to date about forecasts, road conditions and salting activity. 

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