Westminster Council deny ‘dirty tricks’ email campaign, we smell a rat.

Regular readers of this blog may remember our post titled ‘‘Westminster’s latest intimidation stunt backfires on Councillor Chalkley‘ where we described how tax payers money was used to orchestrate a letter writing campaign from members of the Councils ‘Commercial Delivery Group’ calling for the No To Bike Parking Taxes protest group to cease the next planned legal demonstration.

Recent FOI requests have revealed that council officer Kieran Fitsall and part council funded, part Brewery Logistics Group (BLG) funded Hayley Regan were behind the drafting of the letter sent to 18 delivery companies and organisations.

Only five of the eighteen companies decided to do the councils bidding:

KN Drinks Logistics

Tradeteam Ltd

UK Express Networks Forum

Freight Transport Association

DHL (GB)

Out of the rest of the companies and organisations who refused to participate in the councils plan we can be sure that these did not take part, but they were asked:

UPS
Clean Services
John Lewis
Transport of London
Iron Mountain
TNT
Wine and Spirit Association
Keystone Foods
UPS
Wincanton
King UK

But we have no idea who ‘ Transport of London’ is, could this be a typo, and was this in fact Transport for London (TfL), clarification will be sought.

We smell a rat because the groups that did go ahead with the email campaign were all connected to the drinks delivery industry. Who judging by their recent press quotes are over the moon at the massive reduction in their parking fines from Westminster. This reduction all seems to coincide with Ms Regan’s employment.

Brewers call ‘time please’ on PCNs (Tradeteam News article)

“The City of Westminster’s desire to reduce the number of PCNs issued appears to be genuine,” says BLG  (Brewery Logistics Group) chairman Mike Bracey. “Since Regan has taken up the appointment of business account manager she has worked with BLG members on the health and safety aspects of brewery deliveries, and the number of PCNs issued by Westminster during the first month of a pilot scheme has yielded encouraging results,”

“The pilot scheme started last month and, according to Bracey, is due to run until Christmas, when it is planned to be signed off and operated on a fully implemented basis from January 2009. The initial results of the pilot have shown a 75% fall in PCNs issued to all BLG members in Westminster in September – from 473 last September to 120 this year. “

“BLG member Kuehne + Nagel Drinks Logistics (KNDL) saw PCNs drop from 174 to 35 for the month; Carlsberg saw a fall from 94 to 40; and DHL Tradeteam has seen PCNs drop from 205 last September to just 45 this September – a reduction of 78%. “

Well well well, this seems a little to cosy to Nutsville.

We will be going back to the Council for the minutes of the Commercial Delivery
Group meeting, and to clarify just what the term negligible means. We suspect that £10,000 is quite negligible to Bill Gates for example, but in their reply we are not given the opportunity to judge just what is a negligible amount of tax payers money. We also hope, as there have been many similar demonstrations held in Westminster over the years, that many other groups have also been contacted in a similar fashion by the Commercial Delivery Group calling for their protests to be called off. We hope it’s a long list, otherwise it might look like this is just the victimisation of one small unfunded minority* group, wouldn’t it?

*Recently press releases from Westminster City Council have taken to calling the No To Bike Parking Taxes protest group a minority group.

Sources:

Tradeteam gloating news

FOI request

No To Bike Parking Tax main website

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news@nutsville.com

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7 Comments

Julian BondMay 27th, 2009 at 8:02 am

Politics as usual, nothing to see here, pay the fine and please move along.
- Corporate money buys an employee
- Corporates get carte blanche from parking fines
- Corporates return the favour with a little PR

Meanwhile self employed dispatch riders and cabbies are told
- Parking permits and/or fines are a cost of doing business
- Park for 5 minutes in a waiting/loading zone to get a sandwich or take a pee and get a parking fine
- Any criticism of this is disruption of the economy by a minority group

JuneMay 27th, 2009 at 9:23 am

I’m so glad to see John Lewis didn’t join in with trying to stop the demonstration, as I can continue shopping there.

But I’ll never order anything from a company that uses DHL for their deliveries.

ParpParpMay 27th, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Bracey in 2004:

“One of Bracey’s biggest campaigns has been fighting against parking tickets in London -inevitably something that has hit brewers hard. He urged all BLG members to appeal against every fine they receive, and with fines costing BLG members [pounds sterling]600,000 a year, plus [pounds sterling]50,000 administration costs, it’s a sensible line to take”

Sounds a bit like a rogue lorry protester to me.

Bracey 2008:

“A joint partnership between the Brewery Logistics Group (BLG) and Westminster City Council has seen a dramatic fall in the number of parking tickets issued to hauliers in the capital. The scheme has proved so successful that BLG chairman Mike Bracey wants other London councils to get involved and stop civil enforcement officers (CEOs) needlessly ticketing HGVs.”

Funny how sponsoring a Westminster Council employee will get private companies just what they want. I wonder if Hayley Regan was sponsored when she worked for NCP?

Cash for Kerb space :) I seem to remember something like that causing a kerfuffle in central government.

ParpParpMay 27th, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Found another one…

Bracey 2006

“The Brewery Logistics Group (BLG) has hit back at claims from Westminster City Council that delivery drivers are to blame for a rise in parking fines (CM 12 October).BLG chairman Mike Bracey says he was surprised when Kevin Goad, head of parking at Westminster City Council, said BLG members had to “help themselves” by complying with the parking regs.Bracey points to an recent 118% increase in parking fines paid by his members. He also emphasises the increase in ‘double tickets’, where a vehicle is booked for two separate offences at the same delivery point. John Crosk, from DHL Exel’s Tradeteam division, says: “At the moment all we’re getting from Westminster is lip service, and that needs to change.”"

Well now money is coming in to ex-NCP player Hayley it is… More proof that private companies can pay in and get out what they want :)

[...] agree to pay half the wages of Westminster City Council employee Hayley Regan, his members see a dramatic reduction in the number of parking tickets issued to their delivery trucks by [...]

Davith @ Sandwich delivery LondonSeptember 7th, 2009 at 8:51 am

Negligible is a relative term, that amount of money is not negligible to the average tax payer and they will now need to work hard to clean this up and repair any damage that was done.

[...] are we?. Will there be anybody left to screw up reports, add up figures incorrectly and organise dirty tricks email [...]

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