24 June 2014.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

Announcing the Launch of the Motorists' Charter
ABD & NMAG launch the Motorist's Charter
On Tuesday 24th June two drivers' groups, the Alliance of British Drivers and the National Motorists' Action Group, came together to launch The Motorists' Charter. The purpose of the Charter is to highlight demands for a fairer deal for drivers: and set them out in a well researched document that can be presented to politicians and others during the run-up to next year's election, which appropriately also happens to be the 800th anniversary of that other famous charter, the Magna Carta.

In a parliamentary committee room at Westminster, our Charter was introduced by Lord Lucas, with speeches from Alex Henney of NMAG, and ABD director Ian Taylor.

For the ABD, Ian Taylor said that this was a tool that motorists could use when electioneering was underway. He highlighted the vast sums of money extracted from Britain's drivers and contrasted with the dire state of our roads, years of underinvestment and a culture of decrying private road use and a perceived need to discourage motoring. He hoped that the document would be widely read and discussed.

The full Charter may be read on ABD's website [pdf]

The launch is taking place at 11 am on Tuesday 24th June in committee room 2 at the Houses of Parliament. Below is the full text of Ian Taylor's speech - would any editor care to convert it into an op-ed? The year 2015 is the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, probably the most famous of British charters. Charters have long been a way used to bring forward matters of public concern. Next year we also have a general election, so it is appropriate that we are now launching this Motorists' Charter. It is the result of collaboration between two groups, The Alliance of British Drivers and the National Motorists' Action Group and provides a detailed document on behalf of Britain's approximately 30 million motorists. I hope it will be widely distributed, well read and discussed. It can be used as a tool by concerned motorists when hopeful politicians come seeking votes next year. As well as being available today, the full Charter is available for anyone to read online.

For years the privilege of driving has come at a great cost to individuals and businesses. While estimates vary depending upon exactly what you include or not, something like £50 billion annually is extracted from drivers by the state, most of which goes into Treasury coffers, with only a fraction going back into transport, let alone our vital road infrastructure. Worse, some of that fraction gets used to fund measures that restrict road use. We all know government has many calls on their funds, so some of our money has to be spent elsewhere, we ask that sufficient is devoted our roads to make them fit for purpose — give us a fair deal please — value for money. If £60 billion (at the last count) can be thrown at a potential white elephant like HS2 - and now talk of an HS3, surely enough decently maintained roads are not too much to ask for.

Our message is not just for central government; many local authorities are at the forefront of measures that can only be described as anti-car. They seem sold on the idea, propagated by a noisy, determined and well organised minority, that traffic and personal travel is bad and their duty is to discourage or curb car use and manage road space, for which read ration, giving it to other transport modes under the Orwellian claim of improving choice. Management becomes coercion with disparaging references to car dependency as if it were a drug. We are all dependent on many essential services but don't liken them to an addiction. That choice must include driving, the alternatives for the most part cannot meet the needs of the diversity of travel to work patterns of today's employment. For many there is little choice, they are stuck between a rock and a hard place: unable to get jobs where they live and unable to afford to live where they work.

Alongside this Charter the ABD has produced a video, shot in Bristol as an example of some local council worst practice — in our opinion. It is on YouTube, and I urge you all to watch it. There's a competition running on the back of the video to find our best and worst councils for drivers — we have called it "Does Your Council Give You The Hump?" after that most obvious and disliked measure, the speed hump — I like to call them inverted potholes.

Last election we were promised that the War on the Motorist would end. Raising the motorway speed limit was mooted, but appears to have been dropped. But ever lower speed limits, including large 20 mph zones are proliferating and ensnaring more people with penalties, as are bus and cycle lanes that take away road space. Speed cameras have gone in some places; new ones appear in other places. I welcome the news that camera vans enforcing parking restrictions are to be almost done away with, and the possibility of motorway roadworks speed limits being raised. Overall, however, that war still seems to be going strong.

There's an expression in the world of politics — Jam Tomorrow. That becomes ironic when you consider the time it takes to build a new road. In the case of road traffic all we get are Jams - Jams today and the likelihood of more Jams Tomorrow. Enough is enough. I commend The Motorists' Charter to you and challenge the political parties to say again that they will end the War on the Motorist - only this time to really mean it.

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