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GLC beats Ridley

20th July 1985, Page 6
20th July 1985
Page 6
Page 6, 20th July 1985 — GLC beats Ridley
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

by Karen Miles

OPERATORS lace more uncertainty over the Greater London Council's proposed lorry ban — despite a High Court victory by the GLC over Transport Secretary Nicholas Ridley on Monday this week.

Only hours after the GLC's court win for the ban, the Department of Transport said that it would appeal against the decision.

And on Tuesday, the Freight Transport Association demanded an urgent meeting with MT Ridley over the prospect of the ban.

The FTA, along with the Road Haulage Association, the Confederation of British Industry and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, will ask Mr Ridley to do what he can to stop. the ban coming into effect.

But in his judgment, Mr Justice McNeill gave the ban the go-ahead, and condemned Mr Ridley's direction to the GLC to hold a public inquiry as "irrational". The law meant that the GLC did not have to go to a public inquiry, and it had consulted widely anyway, he said.

GLC senior principal solicitor Neil Thomas told CM that the appeal hearing could he very soon because of the case's importance.

Meantime, the GLC is pushing ahead to implement the night and weekend ban for lorries over 16.5 tonnes on December 16, he said.

After the judge's decision on Monday, and before the DTp said it would appeal, GLC transport committee chair Dave Wetzel said the victory was overwhelming. Mr Ridley would find it difficult to appeal successfully, he said.

In the face of advice from the RHA and FTA to refuse to apply for permits, he warned operators throughout Britain to contact the GLC by the end of this month. • This would enable exemption permits, and the fitting of hush-kits to be worked by December 16.

He warned that the ban will be enforced. Fines of up to £400 will be levied for driving on banned routes at banned times, or without the exemption permit displayed on the lorry.

The GLC may be contacted by writing to Bob Carr_GLC Freight Unit, County Hall, London SEI 7PB quoting reference TD/TP/POL/XP. Or operators may ring 01-633 7522. 6435 or 4914: It expects to hear from 5,000 British firms with 25,000 lorries and from European hauliers.

But the Freight Transport Association is pinning its faith in the DTp's appeal and said that the court's decision was a victory for the GLC on a legal point, not an endorsement of the lorry ban.

FTA planning and traffic services manager Don McIntyre advised: "Don't panic. Certainly, over the next week or so there is no need to apply for permits or the fitting of hush-kits.

The FTA will take legal advice on how companies stand if they do nothing until the outcome of the appeal is known, he said.

The Road Haulage Association is also advising hauliers to do nothing. A spokesman said: "Hauliers should not apply for permits until the situation is clarified about the appeal."

The future of the ban is made even more uncertain because of the GLC's abolition next April. Although Mr Wetzel said it would be "politically impossible" to remove the ban, each London borough will decide on the strength of the ban in its own area.

This could mean that some boroughs will apply it much more strongly than others. It also means that an operator who wants an exemption permit after abolition may have to apply to each borough through which he needs to travel.

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