Plans to introduce a scheme giving drivers living in rural areas a 5p per litre break on fuel could be introduced by the Government.
The Coalition included the proposals in its recent mid-term review. The initiative is already running in the Isles of Scilly and could be extended to areas of mainland Britain, including parts of Cornwall, North Wales and the Scottish Highlands.
Drivers in rural areas of the UK are worst hit by rising fuel prices, topping £1.40 per litre for petrol in some cases. These motorists are also more reliant upon their cars as the frequency of public transport and the proximity of amenities are vastly reduced.
If you’re a country dweller looking for relief at the pumps don’t expect the plans to be brought in overnight, however.
The scheme requires approval by the European Commission so as not to break any competition laws.
But it is a real possibility: arrangements such as the above are already in place in Corsica, as well as some Greek and Portuguese islands.
HALFORDS TO CONDUCT DRIVING TESTS
Budding motorists will be able to take their driving tests at branches of Halfords from February 2013 as part of a new initiative by the Driving Standards Agency to make driving test centres more accessible.
The car care and maintenance product retailer’s Wellingborough branch will be the pilot store for the scheme.
With over 450 Halfords locations nationwide the firm has plans to roll out its driving test centre business across the UK and is already considering stores in Glasgow, Altrincham, Market Harborough and Hemel Hempstead to expand the initiative.
Test candidates will be able to meet their DSA accredited examiner in special areas set aside for driving hopefuls – these zones could also be used to test motorists on the three questions asked alongside the practical part of the test.
The public-private sector tie-up should hopefully cure the long waiting lists at many test centres around the UK – up to 12 weeks at some locations – thanks to the creation of an extra 1,500 test slots per year at Wellingborough (based on two DSA examiners per branch).
Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond:
“We are very pleased to be working with Halfords to provide a more local service for driving test candidates.
“This is a great example of working with private sector partners to provide an important local service that is convenient as well as being cost-effective.”
The expansion of driving tests into the private sector is part of the Government’s plans to make life easier for motorists, alongside proposals to scrap the paper tax disc, reducing paperwork and admin costs.