‘The Government and the Department for Transport are more out of touch than ever’

Mike Rutherford says the Government needs to get its priorities straight when it comes to improving our roads

Noticed how little our Government ministers say and do about motoring? Today’s trains, buses, bicycles, railways and airports they’re obsessed with.

True, they have just promised to halt the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040, but that’s all in the name of improving air quality in the future. Meanwhile present-day motorists’ needs are still left unanswered, which is unacceptable considering drivers contribute £150 million a day to the HM Treasury coffers and rarely see a proper return on their investment.

UK plans petrol and diesel ban from 2040

Perhaps we should at least be grateful that transport minister John Hayes has finally expressed interest in a motoring matter – motorway service areas. Great. So he’s going to outlaw the extortionate prices charged at the pumps and neighbouring shops and coffee bars? Er, no. Not a chance.

Neither is he about to reverse the law that says a motorway service/rest area operator can heavily fine a driver who – in the interests of road safety – has a kip in his vehicle for a few hours.

And Hayes is in no mood to lower the enormous fees his Government charges those operators for the right to sell goods at retail outlets alongside motorways. If he did, maybe those retailers could lower prices which are up to six times higher than on some high streets.

Instead, Hayes has formed a task force dedicated to beautifying motorway service areas so they become “lovely” places to “enjoy”.

“Beauty at every turn, every stop,” he nauseatingly promises, before concluding: “To believe a Government minister shouldn’t dare to speak of beauty is to assume that beauty is beyond politics or perhaps that politics is beneath aesthetics. It’s a misconception I want to confront.”

Motorways could see pollution tunnels to trap fumes

This is further evidence that both the Government and the lethargic Department for Transport are more contemptible of and out of touch with road users than ever. Hayes should worry less about beauty and confront the real issues that impact drivers, such as rising congestion; pothole filling; accident prevention and reduction; heinously high car insurance prices; auto crime; EV and autonomous vehicle infrastructure, plus a thousand other matters that are more pressing than ‘beautiful’ motor service areas. You’re barking up the wrong tree, mate. Or maybe you’re barking, period.

What do you think of Mike’s point of view? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section!

Recommended

'The Land Rover Defender and Aston Martin DBX must be front runners for World Car Design of the Year'
Opinion

'The Land Rover Defender and Aston Martin DBX must be front runners for World Car Design of the Year'

Mike Rutherford thinks cars from Gerry McGovern and Marek Reichman are favourites to win design award
30 Aug 2020
'VW Group management shake-up could be crucial to the car choice facing UK buyers'
Opinion

'VW Group management shake-up could be crucial to the car choice facing UK buyers'

Deputy editor John McIlroy points to outgoing Skoda boss as a key reason for the firm's success
15 Jul 2020
"Despite the tragedy of 2020 so far, several intriguing developments emerged in the final week of June"
Opinion

"Despite the tragedy of 2020 so far, several intriguing developments emerged in the final week of June"

Mike Rutherford recounts some significant stories that may have passed you by in recent weeks
12 Jul 2020
'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'
Kia

'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'

With Kia winning the World Car of the Year 2020 award with the American-built Telluride, Mike Rutherford believes Kia has beaten Jeep at their own gam…
18 Apr 2020

Most Popular

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric cars charging at home
Electric cars

Energy firms want the right to switch off electric cars charging at home

New powers being sought to allow energy providers to turn off high-drain devices to manage electricity network
18 Sep 2020
How green are electric cars? Polestar data shows ICE trailing EV
News

How green are electric cars? Polestar data shows ICE trailing EV

Electric car maker reveals whole-life CO2 emissions of the Polestar 2 are better than a petrol XC40 - but EV is only 14% cleaner with global energy mi…
17 Sep 2020
New 2020 Skoda Octavia engine line-up expands again
Skoda Octavia

New 2020 Skoda Octavia engine line-up expands again

New 1.0-litre mild-hybrid petrol engine to the lower end of the Skoda Octavia’s line-up, which has a starting price of £23,005
17 Sep 2020