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E-scooter trial in Coventry is paused after riders mount pavements and zip through shopping areas

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e scooter trial in coventry is paused after riders mount pavements and zip through shopping areas

An e-scooter trial used thousands of times in a matter of days has been halted after riders mounted pavements and zipped through shopping areas, sparking complaints from pedestrians.

Tees Valley Combined Authorities launched the Government-backed initiative to boost the number of e-scooters on Britain’s roads, by starting with 50 vehicles in Middlesborough.

It had planned to expand to Hartlepool, but a series of complaints led to the scheme being pulled from the town. 

Speaking at the time, Hartlepool’s MP Mike Hill said e-scooters were ‘as useful as a chocolate fireguard’.

The Labour MP told The Independent: ‘Using scooters to get people off buses as a way of beating either climate change or coronavirus is farcical. It is fiddling while Rome burns. Whatever the question, e-scooters in Hartlepool are not the answer.’

Coventry has followed suit, becoming the first city to suspend the scheme amid concerns over safety. 

Local authorities, including in Milton Keynes, above, have been able to launch 12-month pilots into e-scooter rental around towns and cities. But pedestrians have complained about riders

Local authorities, including in Milton Keynes, above, have been able to launch 12-month pilots into e-scooter rental around towns and cities. But pedestrians have complained about riders 

Just five days after the vehicles were legally allowed in the city as part of a 12-month pilot, the local authority has paused its rental scheme with Swedish company Voi.

The Department for Transport launched a new 12 month scheme at the start of July which would make it legal to ride e-scooters on roads – they would, however, need to be rented and would be capped at 15.5mph.

Local authorities have to opt into the scheme, while private companies provide the hire-vehicles. 

According to The Times, around 5,000 rides were taken in Coventry in the first few days of the scheme.   

Coventry has paused its e-scooter pilot amid complaints from pedestrians - despite locals taking 5,000 rides in its first five days

YouTube star and TV presenter Emily Hartridge, 34, became the first person in the UK to die in an e-scooter accident when she was struck by a lorry in Battersea in July 2019

YouTube star and TV presenter Emily Hartridge, 34, became the first person in the UK to die in an e-scooter accident when she was struck by a lorry in Battersea in July 2019

Pedestrians quickly flocked to Facebook to talk about near misses with the two-wheeled vehicles.

One said she had been almost ‘knocked over by about four of these in the space of five minutes on Friday night,’ The Times reports.

Others complained about reckless riders who were mounting pavements in the city centre.

Tees Valley Combined Authorities launched the Government-backed initiative to boost the number of e-scooters on Britain's roads, by starting with 50 vehicles in Middlesborough.

Tees Valley Combined Authorities launched the Government-backed initiative to boost the number of e-scooters on Britain’s roads, by starting with 50 vehicles in Middlesborough. 

But the local authority scrapped plans to expand the pilot to Hartlepool after the scheme caused complaints

But the local authority scrapped plans to expand the pilot to Hartlepool after the scheme caused complaints

Coventry City Council paused the scheme on Monday. 

A spokesman for the council said: ‘The initial take-up has been encouraging but we need to ensure that the safety of all people using the city centre is protected and that the e-scooters are used in the proper way, hence our decision to pause the pilot until systems are improved.’ 

Where can I ride an e-scooter? It’s okay on the roads… but not on the pavements 

Riding rental e-scooters on the roads and cycle paths became legal on July 4. 

However, riding these scooters on pavements will remain illegal and will only be allowed in pre-approved locations where the hiring scheme is taking place. 

It will still be illegal to ride privately-owned electric scooters on the pavement, roads and cycle paths.

You can only ride your own e-scooter on private land, with permission from the person who owns the land. 

You must have a driving licence or a provisional driving licence and be at least 16 years old to hire an electric scooter. 

They will be limited to a maximum speed of 15.5mph and it’s recommended that riders wear a helmet, though it isn’t mandatory.  

Privately-owned e-scooters cannot be legally ridden on the roads because they don’t always have visible rear red lights, number plates or signally ability. 

They are treated the same as motor vehicles because they are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs). 

This means they are subject to the same legal requirements as other motor vehicles and must therefore have MOT, tax, licensing and specific construction.   

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Riding rental e-scooters on the roads and cycle paths became legal on July 4. 

Milton Keynes and Birmingham have successfully launched the scheme, with around 50 local authorities thought to be interested. 

However, riding these scooters on pavements will remain illegal and will only be allowed in pre-approved locations where the hiring scheme is taking place. 

It will still be illegal to ride privately-owned electric scooters on the pavement, roads and cycle paths.

You can only ride your own e-scooter on private land, with permission from the person who owns the land. 

You must have a driving licence or a provisional driving licence and be at least 16 years old to hire an electric scooter. 

Road safety groups and charities advocating for protection of people with sensory difficulties have raised serious objections to the legalisation of e-scooters.

Andrew Hodgson, president of the National Federation for the Blind, said in June: ‘After learning about the accidents e-scooters have caused, it is very clear to me they are not fit for purpose.

‘Riders appear to fall from them very easily, causing serious head injuries along with many broken bones.

‘It is also clear from practical experience, dockless e-scooters simply do not work as the machines can end up anywhere in the city.

‘This causes totally random potential barriers to access across city pavement and public space for disabled and elderly people and mothers with buggies.

‘At a time of social distancing when urgency has been placed by the Government on active travel, it is critical that all spare public space on the highway is protected for walking and cycling.

‘E-scooters will only take people away from active travel and those embracing walking and cycling will be faced with danger and chaos if e-scooters are legalised in the UK.’ 

There were 32 collisions involving e-scooters in 2019, including Emily Hartridge, who was the only fatality.

YouTube star and TV presenter Ms Hartridge became the first person in the UK to be killed while riding an e-scooter when she was struck by a lorry in Battersea, south London, in July last year.

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Disgraced former Tory minister Jonathan Aitken is given parliament pass by John Bercow

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disgraced former tory minister jonathan aitken is given parliament pass by john bercow

Disgraced former Tory MP has been given a pass which allows him free access to Parliament despite a ban on them being handed to jailed ex-politicians.

The former Thanet South MP, 78, was given the security permit by former speaker John Bercow before he left the post last year.

This was despite a prohibition on handing them out to politicians who have served prison sentences of longer than a year.

Mr Aitken was jailed for 18 months in 1999 after being convicted of perjury after accusing he Guardian newspaper of libel. 

But he was ordained as a Church of England deacon two years ago and works as a prison chaplain.

A Commons spokeswoman told the Guardian that the usual ban on handing passes to jailbird former MPs had been over-ruled by Mr Bercow.

‘Regarding Mr Aitken, the then Speaker took a view that as his conviction was spent, Mr Aitken should be given a former member’s pass,’ she told the paper.

Mr Aitken was jailed for 18 months in 1999 after being convicted of perjury after accusing he Guardian newspaper of libel.

But he was ordained as a Church of England deacon two years ago, and works as a prison chaplain.

Mr Aitken was jailed for 18 months in 1999 after being convicted of perjury after accusing he Guardian newspaper of libel (right). But he was ordained as a Church of England two years ago, and works as a prison chaplain (left)

A Commons spokeswoman told the Guardian that the usual ban on handing passes to jailbird former MPs had been over-ruled by Mr Bercow.

A Commons spokeswoman told the Guardian that the usual ban on handing passes to jailbird former MPs had been over-ruled by Mr Bercow.

Mr Aiken was an MP in Kent, for more than two decades until stepping down at the May 1997 general election.

He was jailed in 1999 for lying under oath in the libel case against The Guardian.

He sued the newspaper after it said he allowed aides of the Saudi royal family to pay his £1,000 hotel bill at the Paris Ritz in September 1993.

He had famously vowed to ‘cut out the cancer of bent and twisted journalism in our country with the simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of fair play.’

But he admitted committing perjury after the paper produced evidence that showed he was lying in his evidence.

The ex-Tory MP was ordained at St Paul’s Cathedral in 2018 and followed it with a celebration at the Old Bailey.

He joked at the time that his first return to the famous London court building since being jailed there 19 years ago would be a happier occasion.

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Catch me if you can! Nimble squirrel makes a spectacular escape when two dogs start chasing it

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catch me if you can nimble squirrel makes a spectacular escape when two dogs start chasing it

Golden Retrievers Ruby and Stella didn’t stand a chance when they decided to chase a squirrel in their yard, as this hilarious video shows. 

The nimble rodent jumped onto a nearby fence and made an impressively speedy escape, leaping over the top of eight posts as it sprinted off.

The video, filmed in Merton, Wisconsin on September 16, shows the outpaced Golden Retriever sisters watch as the squirrel dashes out of sight.

A video captured in Merton, Wisconsin, on September 16 captured the moment Golden Retrievers Ruby and Stella spot a squirrel in their yard and start chasing it

A video captured in Merton, Wisconsin, on September 16 captured the moment Golden Retrievers Ruby and Stella spot a squirrel in their yard and start chasing it

The squirrel makes a spectacular getaway, hopping up on the fence and jumping over eight fence posts at lightening speed to escape

 The squirrel makes a spectacular getaway, hopping up on the fence and jumping over eight fence posts at lightening speed to escape

The footage starts as Ruby and Stella sprint toward the fence but the squirrel is too quick.  

The dogs chase it down the fence to the end of their yard but the squirrel has gotten away. 

The dogs are left standing watching the squirrel leap towards freedom, tails wagging after their adrenaline-pumping chase. 

The dogs’ owner, who shared the footage online, said: ‘This squirrel has some series running and jumping skills.’

Golden Retrievers are natural hunting dogs, and the name ‘retriever’ refers to the breed’s ability to retrieve shot game undamaged, due to their soft mouth.

The dogs come to a dead-end at the bottom of their yard and watch the squirrel leap towards freedom

The dogs come to a dead-end at the bottom of their yard and watch the squirrel leap towards freedom

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Government plans to bring forward ban on fossil fuel vehicles from 2040 to 2030

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government plans to bring forward ban on fossil fuel vehicles from 2040 to 2030

The Government is expected to bring forward its ban on new fossil fuel vehicles by ten years in order to accelerate the rollout of electric cars in the UK.

MPs last week urged the Prime Minister to move the sales ban to 2030 in order to help the Government achieve its target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. 

The plans, which would dramatically accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles, are expected to be announced later this year alongside a series of new clean energy policies. 

Downing Street had intended to unveil the blueprints as early as this week, but the announcement will now be pushed back as ministers focus on soaring numbers of coronavirus cases, energy and transport insiders told the Guardian.

The ban, backed by the Committee on Climate Change, is likely to be set out by the Government in autumn alongside plans for Britain to become a carbon-neutral economy by the middle of the century.

The Government is expected to bring forward a ban on fossil fuel vehicles by ten years in order to accelerate the rollout of electric cars in the UK. Pictured: Stock image

The Government is expected to bring forward a ban on fossil fuel vehicles by ten years in order to accelerate the rollout of electric cars in the UK. Pictured: Stock image

It comes as sales of eco-friendly cars overtook diesels for the first time in the UK, with 33,000 pure electric and hybrid cars registered between April and June, compared with 29,900 diesels.

The most popular zero-emission purchases were the Tesla Model 3, the BMW 3 Series plug-in hybrid, the Nissan Leaf and the Mitsubishi Outlander hybrid. 

Four years ago, diesel cars outsold hybrids and electrics by almost 14 to one. But almost a fifth of the 168,100 cars registered between April and June were capable of zero emissions, reflecting the decline of the fossil-fuel vehicle.

Measures such as the ultra-low emission zone in London, as well as a general drop in sales during lockdown as showrooms closed, are thought to be partly responsible. 

Steve Gooding of the RAC Foundation told The Times: ‘It seems likely we will look back on these numbers as signalling the death throes of diesel and the ascendance of electric and alternatively fuelled cars.’ 

Banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the next decade would put the UK in line with policies adopted by Ireland, Holland, Denmark and Sweden. 

The Government had previously considered a 2035 deadline, but has now reportedly been assured that the UK’s infrastructure will be ready for the change five years earlier.    

More than 100 Tory MPs were last week said to be urging Downing Street to adopt a 2030 target, with Labour and the Committee on Climate Change also backing the move.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who owns an electric Tesla, has previously suggested a 2032 date. 

It comes as sales of eco-friendly cars overtook diesels for the first time in the UK, with 33,000 pure electric and hybrid cars registered between April and June, compared with 29,900 diesels. Pictured: Stock image

It comes as sales of eco-friendly cars overtook diesels for the first time in the UK, with 33,000 pure electric and hybrid cars registered between April and June, compared with 29,900 diesels. Pictured: Stock image

MPs last week urged the Prime Minister to bring the sales ban forward to 2030 from 2040 in order to help the Government achieve its target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050

MPs last week urged the Prime Minister to bring the sales ban forward to 2030 from 2040 in order to help the Government achieve its target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050

Shadow climate change minister Matthew Pennycook said last week: ‘2030 is an ambitious but achievable date by which to phase out the sale of new petrol, diesel, and hybrid vehicles, one that would give a new lease of life to the UK car industry, whilst combating climate breakdown and cleaning up the air that dangerously pollutes so many of our towns and cities.

‘But as well as accelerating the phase-out, the Government must also set out a credible plan to get there – one that backs the low-carbon jobs and industries of the future and ensures that workers and communities are properly supported in the transition to a fairer and cleaner economy.’

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: ‘We want to build a greener transport system, reduce carbon emissions and boost economic growth in the UK which is why we’re supporting the transition to zero emission vehicles.

‘Our £2.5 billion programme to support grants for plug in vehicles and funding for chargepoint infrastructure at homes, workplaces, on residential streets and across the wider roads network, are all part of our world-leading package to encourage electric vehicle uptake.’

The Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT) had previously warned £17billion of investment would be needed to get a charging network ready for the mass electric vehicle market.

The industry body had calculated that more than 500 new charge points will need to be built every day to meet a 2035 target.

Motoring groups had also cautioned that mass uptake of electric cars would require millions of pounds in grants to help drivers make the switch.

Although electric vehicle ownership is increasing, they accounted for just 4.7 per cent of all car sales in the first seven months of this year.

It comes as Kwasi Kwarteng, Minister for Energy and Clean Growth, last week confirmed the Government’s energy white paper will be published in November after several delays. 

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