Weak bridges in Scotland.

Scandal of Scotland’s crumbling bridges after years of warnings

SCOTLAND’S motorway and trunk road network has 36 weak bridges, including some of the country’s busiest and most historic crossings. The list includes raised approaches to the Erskine Bridge and the Queensferry Crossing as well as the A-listed Bridge of Dee, in Aberdeen, which still features its original 16th century piers.

bridge

There are several weak bridges on the motorway network on the Fife side of the new Queensferry Cross (Image: NC)

Other substandard bridges include a junction of the M73 and M74 motorways in Lanarkshire, despite the £500million M8/M73/M74 improvement project.

Remarkably, at least 13 of the bridges have been in this condition since 1998 – maybe earlier – and have been waiting for strengthening or replacement since the early years of devolution.

The Morandi Bridge disaster in Genoa has led to urgent reviews of crumbling concrete transport infrastructure in many countries across Europe.

Earlier this year, a report from the RAC Foundation revealed there were 412 substandard bridges on council-maintained roads across Scotland.

Now, following a request from this newspaper, Transport Scotland has provided details of the weak crossings on the trunk road network.

SOURCES:

Daily Express

RAC Foundation

Christopher Macgowan

@chrismacgowan

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DART up by 20%

SOURCE: Fleet News.

Car drivers using the Dartford Crossing who have signed up to the Dart Charge pre-pay account are to face a 20% increase in their fares.

The increase – up from £1.67 to £2 – will take effect on October 1 and follows a review by Highways England into how fairly the benefits to account holders are spread across different vehicle types. The changes have aligned the rate for Class B – which includes cars, motorhomes and any minibuses that have nine or less seats (including the driver’s seat) – more closely to Classes C and D.

All other vehicle classes are unaffected by the change, and all standard rate charges are unaffected.

A Highways England spokesman said: “More than a million people are eligible to save money on every crossing at Dartford after having signed up to the Dart Charge pre-pay account.

“With more than 55 million vehicles travelling over Dartford Crossing every year, there is an ongoing need to manage increasing demand at the crossing.

“After nine years of operating a 33% discount for cars, the Department for Transport has reviewed how fairly the benefits to account holders are spread across different vehicle types and have aligned the Class B rate more closely to Classes C and D.

“From October 1, 2018, the new discounted rate for Class B vehicles at the Dartford Crossing will be £2.”

Author:  Andrew Ryan

andrew.ryan@bauermedia.co.uk

Christopher Macgowan

@chrismacgowan

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The European Dealer of Tomorrow. ICDP.

“This report offers a very welcome and calm review against the somewhat hysterical rhetoric shouted by some observers.”

Christopher Macgowan.

The Dealer of Tomorrow will not just evolve naturally.

Whilst we see a future for today’s dealers, their businesses must change, and that change process should already be underway. Not all will survive, not all will want to change. But for those who do not want to play a role in a decade’s time, they need to act now, working with OEMs to build their joint future together.

We see a future for today’s dealers, their businesses must change, and that change process should already be underway

In Steve Young’s special report “The European Dealer of Tomorrow”, we consolidate our research from recent years, updated where needed, and put forward our views as to what form the dealer of tomorrow will take in Europe in the second half of the next decade, so around 2025-2030. For convenience, we continue to use the word “dealer”, but the business we describe is far from the short-term focus on the “deal” that has arguably shaped the distribution model today. We also talk about “sales” and “purchase” even though the product that is being “sold” or “bought” may not be a car where the customer takes ownership, but a service to which they sign up for some period of time in return for a regular payment. We have also focused on sales rather than aftersales, as it is clear that at least some part of servicing and repairing cars must remain a physical process requiring some type of facility and trained personnel, whereas there are legitimate questions about whether the same is true of sales. However, there are significant implications for aftersales networks as a result of changes in sales networks, and we do address these.

Not all will survive, not all will want to change. But for those who do want to play a role in a decade’s time, they need to act now, working with OEMs to build their joint future together

Overall, we do see a future for the businesses and individuals who operate today’s dealerships, if they adapt to the additional challenges and complexities that face us now, and that will only increase over the next decade. We do not dismiss the possibility that some OEMs may follow a different distribution model, at least for certain sub-brands or products, nor the probability that e-commerce players will play a greater role than they do today. However, we do not anticipate a “Blockbuster” moment for car retailing where the sector is revolutionised in a few years, with today’s dealers being the primary casualties.

Please follow the link to download the report “The European Dealer of Tomorrow” for free and get value insight in transforming your business.

https://www.icdp.net/publications-and-data/publication.aspx?pub=48676

Christopher Macgowan

@chrismacgowan

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Fewer paying company car tax, but Treasury takes extra £360m.

The amount of cash collected by the Treasury in company car tax has increased by more than 24% year-on-year – some £360 million – yet the number of employees receiving the benefit fell by 20,000 over the same period, newly-released data shows. The provisional figures, from HMRC, highlight how the Government is raising record revenues from the company car market by imposing higher taxes on drivers.

The data shows that there were 940,000 employees paying benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax on a company car in 2016/17 – a 2% fall on the 960,000 recorded the previous financial year.

The amount of national insurance contributions (NICs) paid by employers on company cars also increased. Employers paid £630m in 2016/17, compared to £600m the previous year – up 5%.

BIK tax and NICs were collectively worth £2.48 billion to the Treasury, compared to £2.09bn in 2015/16 – an increase of 19% or £390m.

Compare that to 2012/13, when BIK and NICs were worth £1.75bn to the Treasury – some £730m less – yet the number of employees with a company car was exactly the same at 940,000.

The record figure of £2.48bn means that the average annual tax yield on a company car was £2,638 in 2016/17, compared to £2,166 in 2015/16, a 22% or £472 year-on-year increase.

At the start of the decade (2009/10), a company car was worth, on average, £1,680 in BIK and NICs revenues to the Treasury, some £1.63bn (£850m less).

The higher tax take between 2015/16 and 2016/17 can, in part, be explained by the increase reported in the taxable value over the same period. The taxable value of the company car benefit was worth £4.57bn, up from £4.32bn the previous year, according to HMRC figures.

However, the vast majority on the revenue increase has been down to the annual two percentage point increase in BIK rates, first introduced in 2015-16 (in previous years there had typically been a one percentage point increase).

Furthermore, these higher incremental increases in BIK would have been decided in combination with the removal of the three percentage point diesel supplement, which was announced in the 2012 Budget and expected to take effect from April 2016.

However, shortly before it was due to be axed, the then Chancellor, George Osborne, announced he was delaying its removal until 2021 “in light of the slower-than-expected introduction of more rigorous EU emissions testing” (fleetnews.co.uk, November 25, 2015).

Two years later, current Chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced he was raising it to 4% from April this year (fleetnews.co.uk, November 22, 2017).

Analysis of HMRC data for 2016/17, when the diesel supplement should have been removed, shows that the annual average company car tax paid by drivers was £1,968 (£164 per month). That was 27% higher than the £1,552 (£129 per month) paid in 2015/16.

Even the fact that company car drivers are choosing cars with lower CO2 values has failed to thwart the increase in revenues.

In 2015/16, the last year for which figures are available from HMRC, 83% of company cars emitted 134g/km of CO2 or less, an increase from 77% of cars in 2014-15.

There is an established strong reducing trend in the level of emissions. In 2002-03, 58% of company cars had emission values in excess of 165g/km; in 2015-16 this had reduced to just 3%.

The emission-dependent scale of appropriate percentages for company cars is one of many factors incentivising the manufacture and purchase of low emission vehicles, says HMRC.

Source: FLEET NEWS

Author:  Gareth Roberts

gareth.roberts@bauermedia.co.uk

Christopher Macgowan

@chrismacgowan

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SsangYong Motor UK extends Blenheim Palace sponsorship.

Following its successful partnership in 2017, SsangYong Motor UK has extended its sponsorship of the Blenheim Palace Horse Trials for a further five years.

Blenheim Palace Horse Trials takes place in Oxfordshire from 13-16 September 2018 and is one of the highlights of the equestrian year. With the stunning backdrop of Blenheim Place, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, home of the Duke of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, it has one of the most beautiful settings of any sporting event in the country.

SsangYong brand ambassador Pippa Funnell

pictured with the new Rexton 4×4

at the 2017 event (Credit: Adam Fanthorpe)

New SsangYong Musso pick-up

Nick Laird, managing director of SsangYong Motor UK, said: “We are delighted to become title sponsor of SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials for the second year running and, moreover, to extend our contract until 2023. This agreement underlines our commitment to the trials and our growing relationship with the Blenheim Palace Horse Trials team, which we are very much looking forward to developing for many years to come.”

Blenheim Palace Horse Trials has become an integral part of SsangYong’s marketing activities and the brand’s biggest single sponsorship investment. Complementing the firm’s focus on 4×4 vehicles and SUVs (Sports Utility Vehicles), the horse trials presents a perfect platform for the all-new SsangYong Musso pick-up truck, which goes on sale in the UK this summer.

Mandy Hervieu, event director of the SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials, said: “As organisers, having the support of a company like SsangYong allows us to make investments and improvements to the event for the benefit of all of those involved, which we hugely appreciate, while working with brands who are committed to our sport and have inspirational targets is just a bonus!”

As well as the sporting action, the SsangYong Blenheim Palace Horse Trials features excellent, carefully selected, shopping opportunities. There is a full and varied programme in the attractions arena every day, superb children’s entertainment and great food, ranging from locally produced outlets to a range of dining packages.

Visit www.blenheimhorse.co.uk to book tickets and for further information.

Christopher Macgowan

@chrismacgowan

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Historic BRM roars into life at Beaulieu.

Hundreds of Beaulieu Spring Autojumble event-goers crowded to watch the National Motor Museum Trust’s 1950 BRM V16 roar into life with the first start-up of its newly restored engine.

Chief Engineer and National Motor Museum Manager Doug Hill took to the wheel of the iconic British Formula One racing car for the octane-fuelled spectacle, which also marked the launch of limited edition timepieces created from the BRM’s original pistons. For more details of the Swiss-made clocks which replicate the BMR’s oil pressure gauge email BRMClock@beaulieu.co.uk or see www.nationalmotormuseum.org.uk/support-us/brm-timepieces.

In an emotional reunion with the BRM, 77-year-old visitor Tony Draper travelled from his home in Yorkshire to see it for the first time since childhood. His father worked on the car as an engineer for BRM and Tony treasures a picture of himself taken with the BRM nearly 70 years ago.

As many as 15,132 visitors and 2,905 exhibitors enjoyed the scorching sunshine across the Spring Autojumble weekend on May 19th and 20th.

Beaulieu Events Manager Judith Maddox said: “We really couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sunshine was perfect for the start-up of the BRM, which was certainly one of the highlights of the show, and visitors loved the sight and sound of this incredible racing car. Also very memorable was MoggyFest and Friends, with a great mix of cars, antiques and vintage fashions on display.”

MoggyFest and Friends was a crowd-pleaser brought together by the Dorset Branch of the Morris Minor Owners’ Club to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Morris Minor. Around 300 Morris Minors and contemporary classics offered a colourful show of saloons, Travellers, vans, pick-ups and convertibles. A birthday cake was cut by Beaulieu’s Managing Director Russell Bowman, who also presented commemorative glasses to club members.

At the heart of the display was a timeline representing each decade of Morris Minor’s production run from the 1940s to 1970s, featuring immaculate cars such as one of the oldest surviving ‘lowlight’ Minors from the first production year in 1948 and one of the last Morris Minor Royal Mail vans. Complementing the cars were period-perfect antiques, record players, toys, kitchen appliances and bicycles, while the owners dressed up in trilby hats with waistcoats or hippy outfits with wigs and bright coloured flares.

The displays continued with a range of classic and prestige cars owned by members of the Wessex Car Club, while Morgan Sports Car Club showcased a great selection of the hand-built British sports cars.

Overflowing with automotive treasures were 1,143 stands offering everything from boxes of light lenses and door handles for £1 to Ford Escort panels, Hillman Hunter engines and even a part-restored Austin Seven saloon project.

The Best Stand trophy, donated by Lolly Lee in memory of her father and autojumbler Terry Lee, was awarded to friends Fiona and Ian Shaw, and Adrian and Jacqueline Carter, who decorated their combined stand spaces with a Royal wedding theme complete with bunting, flags and pictures of the Royal family. The stand was selected by judge Practical Classics Editor Danny Hopkins for embodying the spirit of the event. They were presented with a trophy by Lolly and Beaulieu Commercial Director Stephen Munn.

Fiona said: “It’s been a very emotional day and I can’t believe that we’ve won this award. We have been streaming the wedding to watch it live over the internet.”

Selling British tool kits and parts for Jaguars and Minis, the couples were helped on the stand by Adrian’s and Jacqueline’s daughter Olivia. Jacqueline said: “We’ve been coming every year for over 25 years, ever since Olivia was just six-months-old.”

Automart was the place to find a complete classic car for sale, with vehicles including a Citroen 2CV project at £525, tidy Morris Minor saloon at £2,995 and Jaguar Mk1 3.4 at £22,950.

Spring Autojumble media sponsor Practical Classics also displayed a selection of classics on their stand, including a stunning Citroen D-Special, Eastern-bloc Wartburg and the magazine’s Ford Model T rebuild project.

Sunday’s highlights included Land Rover Rummage, with a trading field dedicated to spares for the popular 4×4. Windscreens, wheels, transmissions, roof panels, body tubs and even a complete military Land Rover project were for up for grabs. The Solent and District Land Rover Club put together a line-up of seven Land Rovers that had been modified for serious off-road terrain.

Trunk Traders was another Sunday favourite with buyers and sellers alike, as bargains were offered for sale from car boots, including vintage oil cans, enamel signs, model cars, carburettors, cylinder heads, tool kits and wheels.

At the close of the show was the Walkabout Auction, hosted by guest auctioneer Danny Hopkins. Bargain hunters bid over items as varied as pink steering wheel covers, a Reliant Robin bonnet and Triumph Herald rubber bumper caps.

For autojumble fans, Beaulieu International Autojumble will take place on September 1st and 2nd. For more details of Beaulieu’s full 2018 events calendar see www.beaulieu.co.uk/events/international-autojumble.

Christopher Macgowan

@chrismacgowan

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BRM based timepieces launched.

The National Motor Museum Trust is offering enthusiasts a unique opportunity to support the ongoing restoration of its legendary chassis number one 1950 BRM V16 racing car, with the chance to own one of 14 limited edition timepieces constructed from its original pistons.

The historic pistons and their connecting rods originate from the BRM’s supercharged V16 engine, which made it famous during its heyday driven by motorsport aces Juan Manuel Fangio and Reg Parnell as one of the most advanced racing cars of its time.

However, the 68-year-old pistons had to be replaced during a complete restoration of the engine which was found to be necessary by the National Motor Museum Trust, a charitable organisation which has overseen a project raising funds to preserve the car for future generations.

To create the timepieces, a specially commissioned Christopher Ward Swiss-made clock will be mounted to the ‘big end’ where the connecting rod was once secured to the crankshaft, with the typeface and colours of its clock face and hands faithfully replicating those of the BRM’s oil pressure gauge. Marking the incredible engineering that made the car legendary, the piston will be set on a brass and polished hardwood base and fitted to its connecting rod by a specially-made brass gudgeon pin to create the unique keepsake. Each connecting rod is numbered from its original manufacture, highlighting its uniqueness.

The funds from the sale of the clocks will be dedicated to the preservation of the BRM. The limited edition timepieces offer an unmissable opportunity for discerning collectors and motorsport enthusiasts to own part of motor racing history.

The piston clock collection will be launched at the first start-up of the BRM since its engine rebuild in a celebration at Beaulieu’s Spring Autojumble on Saturday May 19th at 3pm. It will be the first time that the public have been able to hear the roar of the BRM’s engine since its last appearance four years ago. At the event, collectors will be able to pre-order their timepieces which are being hand-crafted by TMB Art Metal and BRM specialists Hall & Hall of Bourne in Lincolnshire.

To order one of the six initially released limited edition BRM timepieces on sale at £6,000 (incl VAT), or for more information, contact BRMClock@beaulieu.co.uk

Paul Owen, grandson of Sir Alfred Owen whose “Owen Organisation” owned and operated the British Racing Motors team from 1952-74, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support the rebuild of this iconic racing car though our family trust and other activities, and the creation of these wonderfully unique timepieces is a fitting way to both recognise and preserve the integrity and ambition of a British engineering project that was way ahead of its time and laid the foundations for the successful British Motorsport sector that we have today.”

TMB Art Metal founder Christopher Bennett said: “We at TMB Art Metal are very proud to be working with the National Motor Museum Trust to create these exclusive BRM V16 desk clocks, utilising redundant original components from an incredibly important vehicle in British motor racing history. Meticulously made by hand, their design very effectively combines form with function, and these extremely exclusive items are certain to be highly sought after with motor racing enthusiasts from across the globe.”

National Motor Museum Trust Chief Executive Russell Bowman said: “It is highly appropriate that the history of our remarkable BRM V16 should be celebrated with the creation of such exquisite collectors’ items. Continuing to preserve and restore this historically important racing car is vital and the sale of the time pieces will help to fund this.”

Made possible by generous donations to the BRM Preservation Appeal, the essential rebuild of the BRM’s engine was boosted when the National Motor Museum Trust became the 2014 Goodwood Revival Beneficiary Charity. Specialist Hall & Hall was the only choice to tackle the complicated and fastidious restoration of the engine.

The car’s complex 1.5-litre engine has in the region of 2,300 moving parts and following its restoration has been tested at 8,400 rpm when it produced 485bhp. In the car’s heyday, it was capable of producing 606bhp at a staggering 12,000rpm, with even greater power outputs predicted. Now those same original components form the basis of the timepieces, with the unique distinction of having powered the BRM to fifth place in the 1951 British Grand Prix.

The BRM V16 was a ground-breaking racing car design with its immensely powerful supercharged 1.5-litre V16 engine amongst its cutting-edge features, while it was also the first car to use disc brakes in circuit racing. Only five examples of this pioneering British design were built, but its impressive pace and legendary roar made it a spectator favourite. The British Racing Motors company was founded by Raymond Mays and Peter Berthon, creators of the pre-war ERA car. Although the V16 was not a success on the track, it paved the way for other racing designs, with British Racing Motors gaining 17 Grand Prix victories from 1959 – 1972.

The BRM is a favourite exhibit with Beaulieu visitors and is on display as part of a collection of more than 250 vehicles on show at the National Motor Museum.

Further information from:

Jane Riddiford

Public Relations Manager

Tel: 01590 614603

E: pr@beaulieu.co.uk

Ben Wanklyn

PR Executive

Tel: 01590 614641

E: ben.wanklyn@beaulieu.co.uk

Christopher Macgowan

@chrismacgowan

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