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Issue Date:- 28 July 2008


THE IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) is warning motorists to dismantle or remove their safety camera detectors when driving abroad to avoid serious penalties.  In some countries, in-car satellite navigation systems (sat-nav), that show where safety cameras are located are also banned. 

A survey of motoring clubs across Europe in 23 countries found that only 2 - the UK and Hungary - permit the use of both camera detectors and POI (points of interest) sat-nav systems.  13 countries, including Austria, France and Italy allow POI systems, but they not allow camera detection equipment.  Camera detection equipment actively detects radar or laser signals from a safety camera or speed gun and alerts the driver to its presence.  The IAM Trust has always supported the banning of such equipment because its main use is to allow drivers to speed without fear of detection.  7 countries prohibit POI systems, including popular tourist destinations such as Ireland, Germany and Switzerland.

The POI function is built into many sat-nav units and shows the location of fixed safety cameras from information in the unit's CD-ROM database, which can usually be updated.

POI systems normally feature information about garages, car parks, shops and other facilities.  In most modern units this information can be turned off. 

Neil Greig, Director of the IAM Motoring Trust said:- "There have been incidents when camera detectors have been literally ripped out by local police.

The best thing to do is check if detectors are permitted in the country you plan to visit or simply don't take one with you."

Punishment for using prohibited equipment varies widely from country to country.  In Germany a fine of EUR75 is levied if the sat-nav POI function is not switched off.  In Switzerland and Ireland your sat-nav could be confiscated.

Mr Greig added:- "Driving abroad can be an unnerving experience.  While away take extra care to observe speed limits in unfamiliar countries.

If you planned to rely on your sat-nav to give you directions, take a local map as well and plan a route before travelling."

The table below shows which countries allow detectors and which do not.

Country Point of Interest systems Camera detection equipment
Austria Permitted Prohibited
Belgium Permitted Prohibited
Bosnia-Herz Prohibited Prohibited
Bulgaria Prohibited Prohibited
Cyprus Prohibited Prohibited
Czech Republic Prohibited Prohibited
Denmark Permitted Prohibited
Finland Permitted Prohibited
France Permitted Prohibited
Germany Prohibited Prohibited
Hungary Permitted Permitted
Ireland Prohibited Prohibited
Italy Permitted Prohibited
Luxembourg Permitted Prohibited
Macedonia Prohibited Prohibited
Netherlands Permitted Prohibited
Norway Permitted Prohibited
Portugal Permitted Prohibited
Russia Permitted Some types Permitted
Slovakia Permitted Prohibited
Sweden Permitted Prohibited
Switzerland Prohibited Prohibited


Permitted legislation in preparation

* Information provided by the AIT / FIA Information Centre (OTA).  Correct at time of publication (July 2008).

National Nuclear Lab given green-light

THE UK's Business Secretary John Hutton, on 23 July 2008, confirmed the Government will establish a National Nuclear Laboratory, and launch a competition to appoint a commercial operator to run the organisation.

The National Nuclear Laboratory will become an international centre of excellence in nuclear research and development, playing a vital role in cleaning up both the UK's nuclear waste legacy, and also contributing to the programme of nuclear new build.

Mr Hutton has now confirmed that after detailed work, a business plan for the long term development and viability of the laboratory was now in place.

Earlier this year John Hutton gave the go-ahead for industry to come forward with plans for a new generation of nuclear power stations.  This announcement aims to ensure that the UK's ambitions for a new generation of nuclear power stations are matched by the required skills and expertise.

Mr Hutton made the announcement during a speech in Sellafield to launch the West Cumbria Masterplan - a £2 billion regeneration initiative that sets out the vision to build on the area's nuclear expertise and to create 16,000 jobs and boost the economy by £800 million.

Mr Hutton said:- "It is now clear nuclear power will need to continue to play a crucial role in our low carbon future.  The creation of the NNL will safeguard the UK's high-tech nuclear expertise, facilities and skills.The people of West Cumbria know that a career in the nuclear industry is something to be proud of.  I am determined the UK makes the most of its unrivalled nuclear skills base.  To secure our future energy needs, we will need thousands of skilled men and women across the UK to take advantage of the 100,000 jobs new nuclear could bring to the UK."

The NNL will bring together world-class nuclear research capability comprising the staff in Nexia Solutions and facilities owned by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), including the Sellafield Technology Centre.  It will be owned by Government, but run by a commercial operator - whose aim will be to put the new organisation on a firm commercial footing.  The new commercial operator, to be in place by spring 2009, will be expected to make the most of an emerging domestic and international market for nuclear technology and research services.

Commenting on the launch of the West Cumbria Masterplan - known as the 'Energy Coast', Mr Hutton said:- "West Cumbria has a key role in helping the UK achieve our energy goals of tackling climate change and securing our future energy supplies.  This ambitious blue-print will make the area a dynamic, vibrant place to live and work for decades to come.  Building on its strong foundations as the birthplace of civil nuclear power in the UK, I call on West Cumbria to stand ready to seize the opportunities in terms of jobs and wealth from the transition to a low-carbon economy."

Extra information:-

1.  Nexia Solutions has around 750 staff.  This represents a significant portion of the UK's civil nuclear R&D capability.  Nexia provides science-based 'technology', rather than 'pure R&D', to support the UK's civil nuclear operations and clean-up programme, particularly at Sellafield.  The NDA portfolio in 2007/8 is expected to contribute 72% of revenues, with BE and MoD contributing a further 24%.  International work is currently about 2%.

2.  Sellafield Technology Centre (BTC) comprises inactive facilities including office accommodation for over 280 people in an open plan accommodation area and laboratories for general chemistry, materials and corrosion studies.  The active areas of the BTC have been designated as Phases 1, 2 and 3.  BTC phase 1 and office suite, is currently active with BTC phases 2 (High inventory Plutonium suite) and phase 3 (Highly Active suite) in care and maintenance.  The new management contractor will help explore whether there is a business case for phases 2 and 3 to be commissioned.

3.  Ministers announced the intention to establish a new National Nuclear Laboratory on 24 October 2006.

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