Scots councils pay for weather forecast

By Cara Sulieman

THREE SCOTS councils are shelling out £90,000 for someone to predict the weather.

Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils are paying the Met Office to provide them with a detailed forecast so they can decide how much grit is needed for roads in their area.

It comes after the country was brought to a standstill last winter when local authorities across Scotland ran out of salt.

But motoring organisations say they need to prepare for a bad winter no matter what the forecast says to avoid a repeat of last year’s chaos.

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Victory for Johnny after standoff with parking wardens

By Cara Sulieman and Paul Thornton

A DRIVER gave hope to motorists across the country today when he took on Edinburgh’s notorious parking wardens – and won.

Range Rover-driving Johnny Higgins spotted his car being lifted onto the back of a flatbed lorry after overstaying a parking ticket by just 40 minutes.

Threatened with a £150 fine to get his £35,000 motor back, quick-thinking Mr Higgins leapt into the driver’s seat and refused to budge, sparking an hour-long standoff.

Police were called in to diffuse the situation but the wardens eventually gave in, telling him: “Fair play to you.”
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Councils fork out £1.2million to motorists over pothole damage

By Paul Thornton

SCOTLAND’S local authorities have paid out over £1.2m of tax payers’ cash to motorists because of potholes causing damage to cars in the last five years.

Over 12,000 drivers received payouts from councils because of the poor state of the country’s roads – an average of £100 each.

And – with some claims for that period still not resolved – cash strapped authorities have had to set aside a further £150k to cover payments that have yet to be agreed.

A tax payers’ group has blasted local authorities as “short-sighted” and say that fuel duty and road tax payments should be enough to ensure decent roads.

The AA blasted the state of Scotland’s roads as a “ridiculous vicious circle” which endangers vehicles and motorists themselves. Continue reading

Floods hit Scotland

A1 Closed

By Cara Sulieman and Rory Reynolds

TORRENTIAL rain and flooding across parts of Scotland were feared to have claimed the life of at least one man today (thurs) – with forecasters warning of more bad weather to come over the weekend.

At least 20 rivers were last night subject to flood watches as heavy rainfall led to considerable train disruption and several key roads – including the A1 between Scotland and England – being closed to traffic.

In West Lothian police and RAF search and rescue teams spent several hours searching the swollen River Almond near Livingston after reports of a man falling into the fast-flowing waters.

A distraught member of the public called Lothian and Borders Police at 9am to say that they had seen the man fall into the river from a footbridge in the Kirkton area of the town.

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Drivers to get text message updates on traffic jams

By Cara Sulieman

MOTORISTS faced with long tailbacks whilst eight weeks of roadworks hit the M8 will be able to get text message updates on the jams.

Construction company Amey are refurbishing the Arkleston Bridge near Glasgow Airport and are offering road users the updates in a bid to reduce the chaos.

But while motoring groups welcome anything that will make road users lives easier, they are warning people not to check the updates whilst they are driving.

Starting tomorrow the motorway will be reduced to two small lanes with a 40mph speed limit.

The bridge itself will also be closed.

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Drink and self-drive holiday

By Cara Sulieman

A TRAVEL company has been slammed for offering self-drive free bar holidays in the UK.

Mistral Holidays offers the breaks for one or two nights, including a three-hour binge in the hotel bar.

 

The company advertises in local and regional papers around the country, naming a huge number of possible destinations for the binge.

Starting at only £49 per person for a night’s accommodation, the breaks are a cheap and deadly combination.

Although free bar holidays have been available from many companies for years, they are traditionally included as part of a coach tour.

But Mistral is letting people drink as much wine, spirits and beer as they can within their three-hour slot before driving home the next morning.

The dangerous boozy break is being advertised in the Reader’s Travel section of every Scottish and Universal newspaper, which includes The Stirling Observer and Hamilton Advertiser.

A spokesman for the AA

The advert from Reader's Travel

The advert from Reader's Travel

was astounded by the format of the short break, warning that it could lead to disaster on the roads.

He said: “The holiday is irresponsible in combining driving and happy hour style binge drinking. Although there is a sleepover there is still the potential for a lethal combination.

“The company needs to make sure that they give out a warning to everyone who books these holidays. It would be advisable for the party to have a delegated driver and if the driver is thinking of drinking that they limit their consumption.

“They might also offer some kind of fall back so there’s a safety net to help their customers get back home without putting themselves and other road users in danger.”

A spokesperson for Mistral Holidays said “We have been offering these hotel breaks for several years without any problems with excessive alcohol consumption.

“The breaks do not encourage binge drinking and the free bar offer also includes soft drinks. Accommodation, evening dinners and breakfasts are also included.”