Daily Brief 2 September 2013

Last updated 18:50 BST.

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NEWS: new Jaguar SUV teased – unmarked Police trucks – Gothenburg congestion vote question – Syria sparks fuel price rises – Happy b’day McLaren.

roundup: new road rules Russia – Finland road toll plan – Cyrillic signs Vukovar – kindly tyre thief – Makaza Pass opens up central Bulgaria.

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See below for the latest Traffic/Travel/Weather.

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Jaguar CX17 teaser, tobe launch at the Frankfurt show.

Jaguar C-X17 concept to be revealed next week ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show, see above (CET, Central European Time). As well as previewing the look of Jaguar’s upcoming entry into the important SUV/crossover market, C-X17 is also ‘a design study to introduce Jaguar’s new highly-advanced, modular aluminium architecture’ meaning the vehicle’s presumably lightweight chassis/underpinings. Sexy!

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Channel delays: P&O Calais to Dover 20h35 is running approx. 20 minutes late though check-in as normal.

Weather alerts: Amber alert for high winds on Poland’s Baltic coast.

Weather: plenty of sunshine central and southern Europe, cloudier with some rain to the north.

Traffic: see @DE_Traffic from 09:00BST.

See Travel/Traffic/Weather for more.

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NEWS:

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Sweden – the question for Gothenburg’s congestion charge referendum has been revealed. Voters will be asked (abridged):

‘The congestion tax has three goals: to reduce congestion, improve the environment and partially finance the West Swedish package. The package includes a new Götaälvbron bridge, a commuter rail tunnel, a new river connection and investment in public transport. Do you think that the congestion charges in Gothenburg should continue after the 2014 election?’

The referendum was granted following a large petition. Very similar circumstances in Stockholm in 2006 saw city residents vote for, and the areas surrounding the capital vote against. The system was implemented anyway. The date of Gothenburg’s vote is yet to be set though it is likely to be at the same time as the September 2014 General Election. Nothing has been heard recently over plans to include foreign registered cars in Sweden’s two congestion zones.

Meanwhile, in Norway, one man was arrested after two groups of protestors tried to physically remove a toll booth on the E18 near Oslo. The road was paid for through tolls in August but authorities decided to keep them until they had raised enough revenue to pay for their demolition.

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Happy birthday McLaren. The Formula One team and super/megacar constructor is fifty years old today.

Happy birthday McLaren. The Formula One team and super constructor is fifty years old today. Apart from that the company has two other things to celebrate: its £1m P1 megacar is reportedly almost sold out, despite long running anxieties over its sales potential. The P1 is also rumoured to have lapped the famous Nurburgring circuit in 07m04s. That’s shockingly quick though McLaren apparently claim the car is actually able to go five seconds even quicker. Jay Leno has just become the first person outside McLaren to drive the P1, see www.jaylenosgarage.com

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Fuel – reports from Italy and Portugal say the Syrian Crisis is forcing up fuel prices. Italy has already seen strikes this summer by garage operators over the costs of fuel, among the highest in Europe. Average prices at the weekend rose to €1.88 per litre for petrol while diesel was €1.77 per litre. Mid-week, prices in Portugal were €1.597 for petrol and €1.389 for diesel.

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A new one on us: unmarked police truck. Coming to the Midland’s motorways soon, used by @CMPG, Central Motorway Police Group. Previously seen in the North West apparently where officers say they are an ‘effective tool’ to enforce Road Traffic laws with HGVs. According to CMPG, ‘It gives us an elevated platform to see into commercial vehicles as we pull alongside, very difficult from a car.’

A new one on us: unmarked police trucks. Coming to the Midland’s motorways soon, used by @CMPG, Central Motorway Police Group. Previously seen in the North West apparently where officers say they are an ‘effective tool’ to enforce Road Traffic laws with HGVs. According to CMPG, ‘It gives us an elevated platform to see into commercial vehicles as we pull alongside, very difficult from a car.’ @TruckBlogUK tells us they have seen a few about. They lack speed limiters to catch up with suspect trucks. The mind boggles at the performance available to an unladen, delimited 5-600bhp tractor unit.. the police-spec BMW 5-series alongside doesn’t just look puny in comparison.

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Roundup – Norway. A thief stole new tyres from a car in Tromso then replaced them with a part worn set. Russia. New road safety rules came into force on 1 September with much harsher penalties, though DUI is no longer zero-tolerance: the new limit is 0.16mg/l. Finland. An official working group has recommended a switch from purchase taxes on cars to road tolls, governed by satnav devices. The price of a new car would fall by an average €7,000. A survey in July said 57% of Finns would welcome the move. Croatia. Reports that official signs will be replaced with bilingual Croatian/Cyrillic signs on Friday in Vukovar. Hugely controversial in the town near the Serbian border, site of a bloody siege in the war, and has already led to mass protests. update: in fact the signs were replaced today and immediately taken down by protestors despite the presence of 20 police officers… Greece/Bulgaria. The new border point at Makaza in the Rhodope Mountains will open on 9 September but not for vehicles over 3.5t. The crossing, just 20km from the Aegean Coast, opens up a picturesque route through central Bulgaria which also includes the storied Shipka Pass in the centre of the country. Definitely worth checking out.

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