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Issue Date:- 24 December 2007

Drivers targeted in winter fuel campaign

DRIVERS are being urged to avoid turning their festive 'ho ho ho' into a big 'no go' this Christmas by running out of fuel on the region's motorways.

Just in time for the holiday break, the Highways Agency has launched a campaign to try to slash the numbers of people breaking down on the region's motorways by simply running out of petrol or diesel.

Figures produced by the Agency's Regional Intelligence Unit earlier this year showed that nearly five thousand drivers ran out of fuel on England's motorways in the first six months of 2007 - and almost a quarter of them were in the North West, one of the Highways Agency's seven regions.

Latest figures show that by the end of October there were 10,225 breakdowns caused by drivers running out of fuel nationwide - with the North West still topping the table with 2,333 incidents.

Now a three-week campaign beginning on Monday, 17 December 2007 and it is hitting the roads in Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria to raise awareness of the dangers of running out of fuel in the motorway hard shoulder.

The campaign, Check Your Fuel Level, is being run until Sunday, 6 January 2007, right over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Highways Agency engineers in Manchester have arranged to deploy 'hard' message signs at key points across the motorway network to remind drivers to top up. Some of the regional motorway network's electronic Variable Message Signs (VMS) will also be used to remind motorists to stop for fuel.

Highways Agency Traffic Officers will also be visiting motorway service areas to talk to drivers about the importance of journey planning, including having enough fuel to complete their travels or being aware of where they can top up once they are out on the motorway network.

Arthur Ashburner, Director of the Highways Agency in the North, said:- "The motorway hard shoulder should be used only in genuine emergencies but the number people breaking down simply because they have run out of fuel is alarming.

People have died in accidents on the region's motorways because they have run out of petrol or diesel and there have also been many near-misses. We asked our intelligence officers to investigate the figures and we were startled that the North West tops the national list for running out of fuel break downs."

Mr Ashburner said the timing of this month's campaign was important with the Christmas holiday period coming up and people planning to embark on long journeys.

"We want people to enjoy their holidays - so they should ensure they and their vehicles are properly prepared for their journeys. It is no fun being stuck on a motorway hard shoulder in the middle of winter just because you have run out of petrol. People should also remember that breaking down can also cause congestion and inconvenience fellow motorway users."


OVER-INDEBTED loan and credit card borrowers could be in for punishment should they become incapable of paying their bills, the worst case scenario Debt Management Plan could incarcerate them for 10, even 20 years, warns IVA comparison site

As Brits armed with credit continue to hunt for presents on the high street and the web, director Terry Balfour warns of the consequences of stretching too far, borrowers could be sentenced to repaying their debts for nearly a quarter of a century!

“Whilst consumers won’t be under lock and key 19th century style, suffering the drawn out process of a Debt Management Plan is not far from it.

The effects of this debt solution programme can be felt for a very long time – up to 20 years in the most extreme cases – because consumers are making a small monthly payment on a high level of debt.

And as the arrangement is not a legally binding agreement between the parties, the creditors don’t have to honour terms agreed and can still pursue the debt.”
says Terry Balfour.

And many debt-laden borrowers could even increase the balance owed if creditors decide not to freeze the interest.

The key to escaping this onerous burden could be an IVA and as it is a formal contract between the parties governed by the Insolvency Act of 1986, creditors cannot take any further action on the borrower.

“If the consumer has enough disposable monthly income and wants to repay all their debts, they can apply for an IVA. It’s a five year process and at the end of it the debt will be classed as settled.”
advises Terry Balfour..

Some people how ever are taking out IVA's when other solutions might be better for them... So do not rush into making decision!  If the IVA option is the best way for you to avoid being made Bankrupt or incurring ever increasing interest, often leading you being made bankrupt, then IVA could be your best option.   Have a chat to your local Citizens Advice Bureau for advice as well!

There are nearly 1,000 IVA providers listed on’s database covering the whole of the UK. The service allows clients to find an IP who is close enough for them to meet face to face and ensures they don’t leap from the frying pan into the fire by putting their financial security in the hands of a firm that cannot deliver.

“ acts as the IVA applicant’s first point of contact, answering any questions regarding their application or any other IVA issues; and they can check the status of their proposal online at any time.”
says Terry Balfour.

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