British government will stall EU speeding plan

The British government is set to block EU proposals that would have paved the way for speeding fines to be enforced across the continent.

The plans, which are due to be presented to European transport ministers on Thursday, would allow the police forces of all member states to trace the owner of any vehicle caught on camera committing a motoring offence while abroad.

According to the Telegraph, the UK will refuse to ratify the deal which would have seen demands for outstanding fines sent directly to British motorists by foreign police forces.

But before you start cheering the government's new found respect for national sovereignty or the privacy of its citizens, the road safety minister, Mike Penning, made it clear that the UK's reticence was really only down to the fine print.

"While I support greater cooperation between member states over the issue of road safety, we feel there is still more work to be done on these proposals to address a number of important issues," he said.

"For example, there are questions still be answered over the costs of such a scheme to the UK, and the different legal responsibilities placed on vehicle owners and drivers across the EU."

It should be of no surprise to anyone that the question of funding is the primary concern of this government (why bother levying a stealth tax like speeding fines from the population if the administration will not directly profit from it?) but there are already other holes in the proposals big enough to drive a UK registered lorry through.

A spokesman for the AA, Paul Watters, noted: "There are different standards of speed enforcement on the continent. Will the owner of the car always be liable? The owner is not always the person who is driving. Can we be sure that the cameras are working properly? Will they always read the numberplate accurately and what is the right of appeal?"

Well said.
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