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A petition to stop US President Donald Trump’s UK state visit has gathered more than a million signatures.
Numbers of signatories have been rising rapidly since a US clampdown on immigration came into effect over the weekend, causing anger worldwide. PM Theresa May announced the visit during her recent US trip. Downing Street has rejected calls for it to be cancelled as a “populist gesture”. Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn urged the PM to postpone the visit.
Volkswagen has overtaken Toyota to become the world’s best-selling carmaker, the first time the German company has held the position. Japan’s Toyota, which had topped sales for the past four years, sold 10.175 million vehicles globally in 2016. That fell short of the 10.31 million sales which VW reported last week. The milestone comes despite VW’s scandal over emissions tests cheating, which sparked a global backlash and multiple lawsuits. Volkswagen, which makes the Audi, Porsche and Skoda brands, saw a 3.8% increase in sales buoyed by demand in China.
Royal Dutch Shell is preparing to introduce battery charging points at some European petrol stations and Total is working on a similar move as the region’s biggest oil groups react to rising sales of electric vehicles. A selection of Shell’s filling stations in Britain and the Netherlands — the Anglo-Dutch group’s home markets — will be the first to offer the service later this year, according to John Abbott, its director of downstream business. Total of France said it was “studying the viability” of installing charging points at some domestic filling stations. Italy’s Eni already has the facilities at some of its domestic and central European outlets. Electric vehicles are often portrayed as a mortal threat to the oil industry because of their potential to displace the biggest source of demand for petroleum, but Mr Abbott said the transition would take decades.
Britain’s latest car plant — and the country’s first factory exclusively building electric vehicles — is to open in Coventry in the spring as the China-backed London Taxi Company rises from the ashes and begins production on new battery-driven black cabs. The new redesigned black cabs will go on sale by the end of the year as all new taxis aiming to ply for trade in London will need to abide by strict low-emissions rules from January 1, 2018.
The vote to leave the European Union appears to have unshackled public spending, with data from government procurement revealing a sharp rise in the value of work put out to tender. In the last three months of last year nearly £100 billion worth of public sector tenders were advertised — in excess of 50 per cent more than went out to tender in the final quarter of 2015. Latest data reveal that government construction tenders nearly doubled to more than £40 billion in the six months after the EU referendum, with health and social services tenders rising in the same period to nearly £20 billion, or 80 per cent higher.
Top police officials are set to defy the Government over tough new punishments for motorists caught using their mobile phones while driving. The new rules, set to come into effect in March, will double the penalty fee and license points for drivers texting or making calls behind the wheel – leaving rule-breakers with a hefty £200 fine and six points on their license. The move comes amid public anger at the increasing number of people killed or seriously injured by motorists distracted by using their phones or other electronic devices.
Drivers may be fined by civilians dubbed the ‘traffic Wombles’: Uniformed officials could be given the same powers as traffic police under radical shake-up
Motorists could be fined by civilian road patrols dubbed ‘traffic Wombles’ under a radical shake-up of how major roads are policed. The uniformed officials could be given some of the same powers as traffic police to deal with law-breakers, including those who speed or use their mobile phones at the wheel. The move is part of a ground-breaking overhaul of how the country’s most important infrastructure is protected. But critics say that the safety of millions of road users is too important to be taken out of the hands of police.
More than 100 million electric cars will be on the world’s roads within the next two decades, according to new research.
Energy giant BP said it expects massive growth in plug-in car numbers, from about 1.2 million in 2015 to some 100 million by 2035 as the cost of battery technology plummets. The forecast, in its annual report on future trends in world energy, also represents a big increase on the estimate of 70 million by 2035 that it made just a year ago. Despite this, electric cars will still account for just six per cent of the total number of cars in the world, which is forecast to double to 1.8 billion by 2035.