German foreigner vignette – Next Gen radar cars France – New Europe serious defects – Full Monte, Podgorica

Last updated 22:00 BST.

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NEWS: German foreigner vignette, again – Next Gen France radar cars – New Europe serious defects – Gay Pride Montenegro style

Channel delays: Tech hitch cancellations P&O Calais-Dover 17:55, Dover to Calais 19:15. Delays 40min to Calais-Dover 19:55 and Dover-Calais 21:20. Ship’s maintenance cancels St Nazaire-Gijon-St Nazaire today and tomorrow.

Weather alerts: Amber alert for high winds and heavy rain north west Spain/Portugal, and storms northern Italy.

Weather: Mostly dry. Rain in Spain. Fine Balkans/ Adriatic.

See Travel/Traffic/Weather for more.

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GERMANY. The issue of foreign drivers being charged to drive on German roads refuses to go away. Close Angela Merkel ally Horst Seehofer, leader of her sister party in Bavaria, has always said the ‘foreigner vignette’ would be a deal-breaker in any coalition negotiations despite Merkel rejecting the idea during the leaders’ debate before last month’s General Election. But, as on-going, fruitful discussions between Merkel’s Conservatives and the Social Democrat Party make a Grand Coalition almost certain, Der Spiegel reports today that, ‘The automobile toll stands a good chance of being approved.’ They have even – apparently – found a way to get it past European Commission anti-discrimination laws – not surprising when the UK is about to introduce a similar scheme aimed at foreign hauliers. We’ve been feeling this one in our bones for a while; now it’s starting to ache.

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HIT THE ROAD JACQUES: a new generation of unmarked speed radar cars takes to French roads today. Unlike the originals, the new ones can photograph speeding cars on the opposite carriageway provided there’s no central reservation. There are thirteen Renault Meganes and seven Peugeot 208s (above) - in all colours – thus equipped, added to the 46 one-way camera cars already in service (all to be upgraded by the end of the year). There will be 300 camera cars on the roads by the end of 2015. In line with all non-fixed speed cameras, there’s a 10kmh allowance under 100kmh and a 10% allowance over 100kmh. So, drivers will not be fined unless they exceed 146kmh on a motorway; 124kmh on an expressway, 102kmh on a national road or 61kmh in urban areas. Provided they are not speeding dangerously the first drivers will know about it is when the fine plops through the letterbox, so it’s not something UK registered cars have to worry about.

HIT THE ROAD JACQUES: a new generation of unmarked speed radar cars takes to French roads today. Unlike the originals, revealed in March, the new ones can photograph speeding cars on the opposite carriageway provided there’s no central reservation. There are thirteen Renault Meganes and seven Peugeot 208s (above) – in all colours – thus equipped, added to the 46 one-way camera cars already in service (all to be upgraded by the end of the year). There will be 300 camera cars on the roads by the end of 2015. In line with all non-fixed speed cameras, there’s a 10kmh allowance under 100kmh and a 10% allowance over 100kmh. So, drivers will not be fined unless they exceed 146kmh on a motorway; 124kmh on an expressway, 102kmh on a national road or 61kmh in urban areas. Provided they are not speeding dangerously the first drivers will know about it is when the fine plops through the letterbox, so it’s not something UK registered cars have to worry about.

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BULGARIA/ROMANIA. Serious defects have been discovered with the brand new ‘New Europe Bridge’ over the Danube. We reported on 13 October that a large pothole on the Romania>Bulgaria carriageway had appeared though it was quickly dismissed as superficial. Now a full technical inspection has revealed twenty serious problems, including numerous other potholes, many of them caused by poor drainage reportedly with any issues bound to be exacerbated over the winter. Worse, there’s no chance of compensation or remedial work from the builders since such clauses were apparently not included in the contract. With other faults being found on other projects, the quality of (the considerable) recent road building in Bulgaria is becoming a hot political issue since the change of government in the Spring among accusations the whole process was rushed. A full appraisal of the entire programme is due any day now.

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PODGORICA. The British Embassy Team @UKinMontenegro head out to yesterday's Gay Pride march, the second one held in the country. Enough said really.

THE FULL MONTE: The British Embassy Team @UKinMontenegro head out to yesterday’s Gay Pride march in capital Podgorica. Enough said really.

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FRANCE. Four classic Ferraris, including at least one Testarossa, were totalled after a concertina convoy crash near Millau yesterday. The road, not far from the famous Millau Viaduct, was closed for two hours while three drivers were cut free, though none were seriously injured. Also, France magazine has a feature on off-season roadtrips, centred around the upcoming apple harvest in Normandy. ITALY. A 52 year old man is reported drowned in a flash flood in an underpass at Serre di Rapolano, a town between Siena, Arezzo and Montepulciano in central Italy. The area has been under Amber alert for heavy rain the past few days. SPAIN. So desperate are they for some good press that fourteen local politicians turned up to open a traffic island in Alhendin, Granada, barely big enough to fit them all on. SWITZERLAND. The national accident prevention bureau – BFU – has noticed a correlation between drink driving and the country’s wine growing and French speaking regions. ‘Suisse Romande’ accounts for a quarter of the population but half of the drink driving deaths, while a quarter of residents think 3-4 glasses of wine is fine before driving. The Swiss BAC is 0.5 compared to 0.8 in the UK.

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