Last updated 18:00 GMT.
Channel delays: P&O cancellations, tech issue: Calais-Dover 16:05 and Dover-Calais 17:25.
Weather alerts: Amber alert for snow central Finland and yellow for fog/ice Germany, north east Spain, north Italy and Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and Serbia. See below for Switzerland.
Weather: Sunny across Southern Europe but ‘jet stream brings rain to the north’.
See Travel/Traffic/Weather for more.
SWITZERLAND. Heavy fog plaguing the Swiss plateau region from Geneva to Zurich will persist until Thursday. Meanwhile, authorities across the border in France have reduced the speed limit by 20kmh, to 110kmh on autoroutes and 70kmh on main roads.
FINLAND MOVING TO ROAD TOLLS.
Pay per kilometer charge to replace all vehicle taxes.
Finland is moving steadily towards a national pay as you go road user charging system.
A working group sponsored by the Transport ministry and headed by former Nokia boss Jorma Ollila – now chairman of Shell – published its report today (here in English).
It recommends replacing all vehicle taxes, purchase and road taxes, with a pay per mile rate of around 3.3c/km. The charge would vary depending on the vehicle emissions and location, countryside or city. Existing fuel levies would remain.
The system won’t apply to freight or public transport.
Removing purchase taxes would see the price of an average new car fall by €7,000. Current tax on an entry level VW Golf retailing for €19,735 is €3,495.
Overall, the tolls would be tax neutral for the average motorists doing 17,000km each year.
The next step is on-road trials to develop the technology and iron out privacy concerns. The system works via GPS though real time monitoring would apparently not be possible.
Transport minister Merja Kyllonen welcomed the report saying the system would best be introduced ‘in stages with a long transition period’. It’s unlikely to be fully up and running before 2020.
update Saturday 21 December: 55% are opposed to the road charging scheme according to an opinion poll, with only 25% in favour. The principal objection is fairness, particularly for drivers in rural areas.
RUSSIA. A shoot out inside an armoured car in St Petersburg last night resulted in the death of two guards. The men were transferring $6m in cash to deposit at the Central Bank. FRANCE. Parking fines could rise significantly reports The Connexion. Responsibility for parking is set to transfer from police to local authorities. The fine is currently €17 nationwide but could rise to €36 in Paris. GERMANY. Angela Merkels’s limo was rammed by an elderly motorist last night while en route from her weekend retreat in Brandenburg to Berlin (to announce her new cabinet). Merkel alternates between armoured versions of the BMW 7-series, Mercedes S-Class and Audi A8 to avoid favouritism in the German ‘limo-wars’. The impact, at the exit for Berlin-Weissensee on the A10, was described as a ‘glancing blow’ but was enough to smash the wing mirrors of both cars. BULGARIA. New roads vignette sticker goes on sale today. Prices – which haven’t changed since 2007 – range from 10LEV (£4.30) for a weekly pass, to 25LEV (£10.80) for a month or 67LEV (£28.90) for one year for cars, category K3. The vignette applies to all motorways and most main roads; avoiding buying it is not really practical. See www.vinetka.com for more, or to buy in advance.