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China looks at plans to ban petrol and diesel cars
China, the world’s biggest car market, plans to ban the production and sale of diesel and petrol cars and vans.
The country’s vice minister of industry said it had started “relevant research” but that it had not yet decided when the ban would come into force. “Those measures will certainly bring profound changes for our car industry’s development,” Xin Guobin told Xinhua, China’s official news agency China made 28 million cars last year, almost a third of the global total.
Cycling: Groups call for action on ‘car-dooring’
A campaign to raise awareness of “car-dooring” is needed to save lives on Britain’s roads, Cycling UK has said.
The campaign group says cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians are being injured and killed by drivers and their passengers carelessly opening doors. It wants the Dutch reach – which involves opening doors with the “wrong” hand – to be taught to new drivers. The Department for Transport says it will consider new messages on cycle safety as part of its Think! campaign. Government figures from 2011-2015 show that eight people died from carelessly-opened car doors. Three of these had been travelling in cars – five were cyclists knocked off their bikes.
Slavery checks not fit for purpose at UK firms, report says
UK businesses are running the risk of employing forced labour because they do not know enough about their staff, researchers have warned. Firms are realising that often they do not fully trace the backgrounds of workers, a study by the University of Sheffield and University of Bath found. It means their checks are not “fit for purpose” to uncover modern slavery, according to the researchers. The government said further changes for businesses might be needed.
Brexit: Ministers warn of ‘chaos’ if repeal bill rejected
MPs opposing the government’s EU repeal bill will be voting for a “chaotic” Brexit, ministers have warned.
Brexit Secretary David Davis said people did not “vote for confusion” in last year’s referendum while Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged MPs not to “frustrate” the process. MPs will hold a key vote on the legislation, which aims to end EU law’s supremacy in the UK, on Monday night. Labour says it will oppose the bill, claiming it represents a “power grab”.
BT moves to phase out diesel and petrol-only vehicles
Electric cars are poised for a boost as BT moves to phase out diesel and petrol-only engines in its fleet of nearly 30,000 vehicles. The communications group, whose fleet of vans and cars is one of the largest in the UK, has said it will shift to greener transport over the next 13 years after adopting carbon targets for 2030 in line with the toughest goals of the Paris climate agreement. “We want to move the majority of the fleet to the latest electric vehicle or hybrid technology,” said Niall Dunne, BT’s chief sustainability officer. BT has a mixture of vehicles from carmakers including Nissan and Renault that mostly run on diesel, a fuel that UK cities are already trying to limit because of its contribution to air pollution.
Calls for stricter checks after Uber fuels record rise in minicabs
The number of Uber-style minicabs on the road has risen by almost a quarter in two years and has led to calls for tighter regulation of drivers. Figures from the Department for Transport show that the number of minicabs is now at record levels, with 205,500 vehicles in England this year. Pre-booked minicabs have boomed as the number of traditional taxis and black cabs, which can be hailed on the street, have dropped. The figures show that taxi numbers were down by 0.7 per cent to 75,500 over the same period.
Initiative helps small companies to boost their ‘people skills’
Small businesses should be given millions of pounds of government backing so that they can provide better support for workers, a new report has proposed, after a pilot scheme suggested that such a move could boost productivity. The People Skills scheme provided free human resources services to small companies in Hackney, Stoke-on-Trent and Glasgow for a year, including face-to-face advice, a telephone helpline, online information and group training events. An evaluation of the initiative, which was created by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and JP Morgan, found that even basic support such as help with establishing workers’ terms and conditions or job descriptions provided a “foundation for boosting workplace productivity”.
Shops struggle as squeezed households rein in spending
Consumer spending is set for its weakest year since 2013 due to inflation and lacklustre wage growth. Expenditure on clothing was down again last month despite retailers promoting back-to-school ranges while spending on transport and communications fell for an eighth consecutive month as shoppers continued to rein in major purchases such as cars. Consumers instead prioritised experiences over products, a sign that the weaker pound encouraged “stay-cations” this summer. There are also signs of a so-called lipstick effect, with consumers spending more on small treats, such as beauty products, trips to hair salons and jewellery.
Mobile phones should have a ‘driving mode’ so they are disabled in the car
Mobile phones should have a “driving mode” to disable them inside the car, road charities have demanded. The charity Brake and Be Phone Smart, a campaign by the RAC, are both calling on the industry to include an ‘opt out’ setting, blocking calls, messages and notifications when motorists are behind the wheel. They say the technology is urgently needed to tackle “the needless deaths and serious injuries caused by drivers using handheld mobile phones.”
Survey shows impact of not driving on older motorists
A new survey has revealed that older drivers are concerned about loss of identity and independence if they have to stop driving. Research of older drivers in the West Midlands has shown that:
Car fumes harm pupils in ‘poison playgrounds’
More than 950 schools are within 160 yards of roads where pollution levels exceed legal limits, new research shows. Urgent action is needed to protect pupils from damage to their health, said ClientEarth, which has published the findings as part of its Poisoned Playgrounds campaign. The environmental law charity has developed an online postcode search tool that lets parents see if their child’s health is at risk at school. A survey carried out on its behalf found three-quarters of parents think the government should take extra measures to cut traffic emissions.