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Lookers shrugged off fears of a slowdown in the car buying boom, saying that it had seen little change in the consumer market. The car dealership chain, one of the largest in the country said that profits from selling new cars were about the same as last year, when the country registered more new vehicles than in any previous year. Including acquisitions, those new car profits were 11 per cent ahead in nine months to the end of September. Gross profit from used cars was 22 per cent higher than the previous year and in the aftersales business 24 per cent stronger.
Europe calls for detail on Brexit deal with Nissan
European competition watchdogs have asked the government to spell out what promises it made to Nissan to persuade the Japanese carmaker to continue with investment in Britain. The government said that Nissan had been given assurances that trading conditions for its car plant in Sunderland would be unaffected by Brexit, allowing investment to go ahead for the production of two new models, and that the sector would be a priority for Britain’s new industrial strategy. Sources said that officials in Brussels were dissatisfied by the level of detail provided by the government.
Source: The Times
The government’s appeal against the High Court ruling that MPs must vote on triggering Brexit will be heard in the Supreme Court from 5 December. It will last four days, with the decision expected in the new year. Theresa May has said she is “clear” she expects to start talks on leaving the EU as planned by the end of March. Campaigners say MPs and peers have to scrutinise the government’s plans beforehand, but ministers say they can decide without this happening. The High Court ruled last Thursday that Parliament should have a say before the UK invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which triggers up to two years of formal EU withdrawal talks.
Electric car charge point use doubles
The use of electric car charging points across Scotland has more than doubled in the last year. Chargers were used 26,119 times during August, up from 12,939 in August 2015 and nine times the usage in August 2014, Charge Place Scotland said. Electric vehicle drivers appeared to favour rapid charge points, with many standard charge points not used at all. Recent figures showed there were 3,575 electric vehicles licensed in Scotland, up from 2,050 the previous year.
There are 870 public and commercial charging points in the Charge Place Scotland network with a total of 1,772 connectors or sockets between them, up from 694 charge points and 1,373 sockets a year earlier.
Speeding tickets on ‘smart motorways’ rise sharply
The introduction of smart motorways has seen a big rise in speeding fines, figures obtained by the BBC suggest. Between 2010 and 2015, fixed penalties issued on smart sections increased from 2,000 to 52,000, according to data collated by the BBC’s The One Show. There are more than 236 miles of smart motorways in England, which use the hard shoulder and variable speed limits to control traffic flow. The government says they are used to improve capacity, not generate revenue.
Smart motorways are operated by Highways England, which uses overhead gantries – also containing speed cameras – to direct traffic into open lanes and change speed limits depending on the volume of traffic. A further 200 miles of smart motorways are currently either planned or under construction.
Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“I would like to congratulate Donald Trump on being elected the next President of the United States, following a hard-fought campaign.
“Britain and the United States have an enduring and special relationship based on the values of freedom, democracy and enterprise.
“We are, and will remain, strong and close partners on trade, security and defence.
“I look forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump, building on these ties to ensure the security and prosperity of our nations in the years ahead.
In London, more commuters are taking to bikes, with cyclists making 645,000 journeys a day in 2014, up a third from 2008. The UK capital’s Santander hiring scheme enjoyed almost 10m hires last year, up from 7m in 2011. Cycling is also very much on the political agenda. New east-west, north-south and west London routes are in the works, in addition to six existing “cycle super-highways”. Additionally, some dangerous trucks that afford drivers limited visibility — which were involved in 78 per cent of cyclist deaths in 2015 — are to banned from 2020. However, carmaker Ford is planning to launch its first commercial driverless models in 2021 and, as automated vehicles take to the city streets, the bike itself may be subjected to technological disruption.
Source: The Financial Times