Time now to look at a number of organisations with an interest in transportation issues.
Formerly the Council for the Preservation of Rural England, the Campaign to Protect Rural England has, as the name-change suggests, become increasingly assertive in recent times. While some of the criticisms levelled at CPRE in recent years, particularly in regard to inconsistency (it has a history of opposing wind farms, but not open cast mines) are probably justified, but may be due to the wide range of views to be encountered among the membership. In that respect it`s worth noting that local groups have considerable autonomy and can launch their own community-based campaigns independently. Only rarely and under extreme provocation does the parent body instruct a local group to stop using the CPRE name in connection with their activities. On transport issues it is a progressive-minded and articulate campaigning body with wide-ranging policies to the point where it could almost be said to have a transport manifesto.
See what you think ; www.cpre.org.uk/campaigns/transport
Started in the `80s as `Brake - The Campaign for Safer Lorries`, this charity was heavily backed by the trade union I was in at the time and I have always taken an interest. It`s remit and range of activities have widened considerably since then and it likes to be referred to as `Brake - The Road Safety Charity`.
Events and campaigns can be aimed at the public or at transport professionals, and it continues to work with victims and carers.
I once saw Brake referred to - perhaps jokingly - as "the traffic Policeman`s favourite charity" and it`s support for the Drugs (Roadside Testing) Bill 2010 - 2011 probably underlines this image. The bill is a Private Member`s Bill presented by Christopher Chope MP. Mr Chope is one of the few MPs I view with an almost personal animosity (normally I pride myself on not disliking politicians simply because I don`t share their views), but on this particular issue I wish him well.
Brake can be found at http://www.brake.org.uk/
Roadpeace is the national charity for road crash victims. It offers practical and emotional support and help with advocacy. At present it is campaigning for improved investigations, effective inquests, appropriate prosecution and sentencing, fair compensation and rights for victims.
Link : www.roadpeace.org
There are of course a number of trade unions with an interest in transport matters. Here are a couple of the more unusual ones ;
1) PUBLIC AND COMMERCIAL SERVICES (DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT GROUP)
PCS (Dft) represents members in an astounding array of professions within the Department of Transport.
Contrary to what you might think, DfT (Central) is a relatively small body (roughly 1700 people) and comprises a number of policy people and their support staff plus the Air Accident Investigation Branch, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch and the Rail Accident Investigation Branch.
There are 7 Department of Transport Agencies. DVLA is the largest (2,000 - 3,000 staff) and I believe it is also the largest single part of DfT. A typical Agency is staffed by DfT employees but has a Chief Executive drafted in from the private sector on a short-term contract (normally three years). Some Agencies are relatively high profile (the Highways Agency), but others will probably be unkown to you unless you`ve worked in the transport industry or the emergency services ( the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, the Vehicle Certification Agency). Most have very specific, often rather specialised areas of expertise (the Maritime and Coastguard Agency).
PCS (DfT) find themselves dealing with 8 different units for negotiating purposes (DfT (C) plus the seven agencies) and representing members in varying types of work, ranging from admin staff to managers to enforcement staff to specialist grades like vehicle inspectors. Probably not the easiest remit within the trade union movement, but lively I would think ! It is TUC-affiliated but I believe it is not affiliated to any political party and may actually be barred from doing so.
2) INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORT WORKERS` FEDERATION
Formed in 1896, this is a federation of (as of 2009) 654 member organisations in 148 countries, with a combined membership of 4.5 million.
I wouldn`t even attempt to outline the full range of work undertaken by the ITWF, but a particularly interesting area they do work in relates to Flags of Convenience.
FOCs are a system whereby unscrupulous shipowners seek to bypass legislation by registering their vessels in countries with low levels of legislation and seek to maintain profits by hiring the cheapest possible crews and observing low training and safety standards.
In one notorious incident, the company owning a particular ship simply stopped paying the crew while they were at sea, and on their arrival at their destination the crew found themselves stranded thousands of miles from home ! Fortunately, ITWF officials were able to provide humanitarian assistance and representation.
Needless to say, owners like this feel little or no compunction about breaking the law - in fact it could be argued they only remain solvent by breaking the law . FOC`s have become a key issue for the ITWF, who have now launched a site aimed specifically at seafarers ( http://www.itfseafarers.org/ ).
The ITWF communicates with the world via Transport International magazine ( www.itfglobal.org/transport-international/ti38.cfm ) and by it`s website ( http://www.itfglobal.org/ ).
There you have it, just a small selection of organisations with an interest in transport issues which I hope will be of interest to someone somewhere. If nothing else, it gave me the chance to follow a posting headed Burning Passions with one headed Transports of Delight ! I am a simple soul and find such things amusing.
As an afterthought, if transport and environment issues are your cup of tea, you might want to seek out two other articles of mine, `Blue Truck, Green Truck` (13 May 2010) and `Blue Truck, Green Truck Update` (30 August 2010), both online at The Graphophone.