Daily Brief 16 July 2013

Latest update 18:15 UK time.

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in brief:

Ferries: Some delays P&O Dover-Calais.

Weather: mostly warm/hot and dry. Maybe rain Finland.

Traffic: see @DriveEurope.

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Top News: EU road tolls plan put back – Belgium vignette cancelled but truck toll from 2016.

Roundup: Mobile EV solar panels – Latvia radar cops – Turkey ‘world’s most expensive’ fuel – France parking ‘decriminalised’ – Gothenburg tunnel grant – Hungary, more free juice.

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Cosne-sur-Loire, central France. Dodge the tolls and the traffic on the autoroutes by taking to the Route Nationale network, established by Napoleon and radiating from Paris. They are no good for those in a hurry, you’ll be constantly overtaking other toll dodgers, and slowing down for the succession of (very pretty, mostly) towns and villages along the way. But if you have time to settle back and cruise they are a wonderful way to drive through France. This is RN7, the original Route de la Morte, from Paris to the Mediterranean (though we’re heading the other way). Having said all that, in one day we managed 350 miles, from Chambery in the south east, near the Italian border, via Lyon, to Fontainebleau, just south of Paris, on a mix of RN6 and RN7.

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TRAVEL/WEATHER:

Meteoalarm weather risk alerts – Amber alert for storms north Greece mainland; risk of forest fires Latvia and high temps and strong winds Montenegro.

Weather in brief – ‘Another very warm day to come across much of Europe.. Expect thundery showers across Baltic States into northern Poland and Russia.’

Crossing the Channel: P&O Dover-Calais: ‘Due to earlier technical issue, our Calais-Dover sailing at 18h50 will now sail approx. 19h35. Our Dover-Calais sailing at 20h15 is approx. 30 minutes late and will sail at approx. 20h45.’

Eurotunnel: Our passenger service is currently operating with some timetable disruption, this is due to an earlier cancellation. There is a waiting time of approximately 30 minutes on the terminal.

No other operators currently reporting any delays.

Latest from @Port_of_Dover: ‘Here in Dover sea conditions in the Channel are calm with Easterly light airs, force 1, and the visibility is good.’

Latest from Condor Ferries’ forecast: ‘The current forecast indicates slight sea conditions for the week ahead.’

See our Traffic/Travel/Weather page for the latest.

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NEWSLOG & PHOTOS

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EU – an announcement on the EU’s plans for a pan-European road charging scheme has been put back to the end of September or early October a spokesman at the Commission told DriveEurope this afternoon. An announcement had been expected in June. More on this when we get it.

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Belgium – it’s unofficial but widely reported that Belgium has cancelled plans to introduce a road vignette in 2015/16. Dutch auto club AMWB posted a short statement on its website. However, it is rumoured an electronic toll scheme for trucks will go ahead in 2016.

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Gasp. Synthesis Design + Architecture has made this ‘Pure Tension Pavillion’ foldaway solar panel for recharging electric vehicles wherever you go. Obviously not quite everywhere you go, for instance nowhere where anybody knows you. And there’s no word on the amount of boot space left after you’ve packed it away. On display in Rome on 15 September.

Gasp. Synthesis Design + Architecture has made this ‘Pure Tension Pavilion’ foldaway solar panel for recharging electric vehicles wherever you go (in collaboration with Volvo Italia). Obviously not quite everywhere you go, for instance nowhere where anybody knows you. And there’s no word on the amount of boot space left after you’ve packed it away. On display in Rome on 15 September.

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Latvia – the Baltic state has put plans to introduce fixed speed cameras on hold and bought radar equipment for its police vehicles instead, 126 in total. A previous report on Baltic News Network says the plan to install fixed cameras failed due to a breach of the contract by the supplier, and because land owners refused to allow them.

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Turkey – fuel prices are among the most expensive in the world says Hurriyet Daily News. The latest increase sees unleaded 95 rise to around £1.70/l (4.91 TRY).

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France – parking fines are ineffective and too expensive to recover says GART, the transport authorities group (via @ConnexionFrance). Parking law means rates are set centrally while pursuing offenders is complex and lengthy. GART is calling on the govt to decriminalised parking and devolve responsibility to local authorities.

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More stunning photography courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars ltd. This time of its new Wraith coupe, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

More stunning photography courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd, this time of the new Wraith coupe, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

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Sweden– the EU has made a grant of 24mSEK (£2.4m) towards the cost of the proposed Marieholms Tunnel, under the Gota Alv river in Gothenburg. As part of the huge Vastsvenskapaketet – West Sweden Project – the new tunnel may depend however on citizens voting to keep the city’s congestion zone on whose revenues the project depends. The date of the referendum is still to be announced, as is the question.

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Hungary – the tenth public EV charging station has been installed in Budapest. Like all the others in the city it is free to use. There are plans for 7,000 charging stations in Hungary by 2020. There are currently 25, see them all here.

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NOTES:

Turkey – after some time without protests the situation is unpredictable again. See latest FCO travel advice.

Bulgaria – anti-govt demonstrations becoming a permanent feature. The British Embassy says, ‘There is a small risk of violence. Avoid large gatherings in public spaces and follow local media and the advice of the local authorities.’ For the latest FCO travel advice click here. For Bulgarian news in English see www.Novinite.com or @novinite_com on Twitter.

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