19/12/2011 Inside Out England


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could help save lives. The lorries hit the cars in front of us and we


could hear banging from behind as well. It was hell. It was just the


worst noise running through your head, these screams of people and


not knowing what to do first. Terrible memories, never to be


forgotten. But a question mark hangs over this accident. Witnesses


reported a catastrophic loss of visibility. What caused it? Was it,


as police have suggested, smoke from fireworks? Or something long


recognised to be a danger at this very spot? Tonight we can reveal


this stretch is known by the authorities to be a fog prone


stretch of motorway. Consultants have recommended upgrading the fog


warning system, a recommendation on which there are no plans to act.


Police have said a fireworks display held at a rugby club near


the accident scene is their main line of inquiry, but we've learned


they've also consulted the Met Office over the weather that night.


Whatever caused the visibility problems, signs which could have


warned of it weren't activated. So motorists had no idea of the danger


that lay ahead. We pulled on to beat M 5 and we were getting up to


speed behind the Ice land truck in the middle lane, when we came into


a wall of very sudden thick fog. was like somebody had thrown a


towel over the front of the windscreen. When that was gone, I


could see the truck again but it was stationary. I stood on the


brakes. At I thought we would not be able to stop. But we did, with


about 10 feet to spare, from my memory. Based on pictures taken


after the accident, we've tried to indicate what happened in the


aftermath. The vehicles represented may not be exactly where they ended


up immediately after the crash. The Nenos were in the very first phase


of the collision, and Ciara was one of the first to dial 999. I told


them we need ambulance, fire brigade and police. I said this is


not just the small crash, it is many crashes and I can see fire.


Then came the second phase of the crash, a lorry jack-knifed behind


them, protecting the couple from impact. I said I am not sitting


here any longer. I have got to go out and see what I can do. When I


stepped up to the car, it was like stepping on to a movie set. Roger


saw two men trapped in the car directly in front of him. He


borrowed a tyre lever from a truck driver. I ran back and told the guy


in the seat to turn away and I smashed the window. He reached out


and I pulled him out. The chap on the other side was very dazed, in a


slightly worse way. We said you orange and is gone, your car is


smoking, you need to get out. We pulled him out. Tom Hamill, his


girlfriend Katharine, and his dad had pulled up behind the jack-


knifed lorry. They too were remarkably lucky not to have been


hit. I sat there and Thomas was like "we are going to get hit,


brace yourself" and I saw to the left cars crashing. Someone shouted,


"please, take my baby. My husband is trapped in the car, take my


baby". I was standing in the central reservation as more cars


were crashing into the back. On the other side of the now blazing lorry,


Roger Neno followed a young woman's cries for help. Ghurka was pinned


under the lorry, and I am thinking that fired his gun to spread


underneath this lorry and it won't take very long, the way it is


burning. I told her to move back, and at the 4th attempt the window


smashed. Then I pulled her out. As I was doing this, I saw a lady that


was... A lady that was pinned by her legs under the back wheel of


that car underneath the lorry. She was screaming, "help, get me out"


Obviously fearful she was going to lie there and burnt as well. With


no chance of releasing her, Roger ran for help, returning with an


off-duty doctor and one of the fire crews which were now arriving.


could see Roger going towards the car, and of course there was this


huge fireball behind. It just exploded and I screamed at him to


get out. I thought everything was going to go up. Despite the


fireball, the woman was saved. Roger and Ciara spent hours at the


scene, helping with the rescue effort. The biggest accident


investigation ever mounted by Avon and Somerset police is now underway.


But what's already emerged is that the visibility warning system on


the M5 is outdated. The signs have to be activated by highways


authority control room staff and the agency says that it didn't get


any reports of fog at the time of the accident, so it didn't turn the


signs on. Elsewhere the authorities don't rely on human intervention.


In Holland there are roadside detectors that automatically turn


on warning signs even if visibility suddenly deteriorates. I travelled


to meet Hans Remain, who helped to install the Dutch system, after a


fatal pile-up there 20 years ago. In 1990, there was a very severe


accident during a dense fog. There were many deaths and many


casualties. This cost the -- caused the Ministry of Transport to


install a fog warning system. Those thick patches of fog are so


unexpected you can't give this task to a human being, as far as we


think. In the UK such a system is on the M25, on some motorways in


the North West, and only a handful of other locations. We obtained


from the Highways Agency a consultant report from last year


which identified the M5 accident spot as at high risk from fog and


recommended a system. We asked the agency if it had any plans to do so,


it said it didn't and would only look at safety improvements once


the result of the police investigation were known. The cost


of installing the visibility sensors in the south west,


according to the report, is �3 million. Some of those involved in


that terrible accident want action now. There is a big fog danger


along the whole of the M 5. Any warning would be beneficial, even


10 mph would have made some of those fatal crashes perhaps near


fatal and given people half a chance. That would be a phenomenal


idea, and why not? If that is something that can be provided,


then yes, definitely. And the police investigation into the crash


Coming up next: We go undercover to find out just how one car clamper


is making thousands. How do you come up with your fees? You need to


speak to the government about that. Bin it! What it's really costing to


clean up our mess. One of the things I say to people is next time


you see somebody dropping a crisp packet on the floor, imagine they


are dropping your �5 note because you are paying for them to pick it


The AA estimates almost 800,000 vehicles are clamped every year,


costing motorists around �90 million. A fair cop? Well maybe not.


The clampers have caught the Government's attention, but, as Jon


Cuthill's been finding out in Southampton, at the moment it's


still a nice little earner for some people.


Stop at any private car park these days and you may well find a sign


warning that you could be clamped. But the practices behind some of


the companies have led to the Government's own clampdown. Here in


Hampshire one firm under the spotlight is White's Car Park


Solutions. Its boss Jason White has certainly hit the headlines. In the


past, angry motorists have even beaten him up. Most recently in


Winchester he was threatened with a meat cleaver. So what is it that


makes them so angry? After all, he's only doing his job. All these


motorists have been clamped by Mr White's company and what makes


their blood boil is how the costs can rack up, especially if you are


towed away. You are going to have to pay me �428. �468 in total.


thought we'd have a look at the way he operates. We did ask Mr White if


we could come out clamping with him, but he declined, so I'm going to go


undercover. Using possibly one of the worst disguises ever seen on


TV... Roller skating accident. Nasty. It appears, young or old,


crutches or no crutches, anyone's fair game. It is an area I have


part in lots of times before. I visit a friend on not road and I


had no idea it had been made a prohibited area so I didn't look


for any signs. Then when I came back later, the car had gone. Of


course I thought it had been stolen. 90 year old Dennis Wilson wasn't


displaying his disability badge when he parked on a site patrolled


by Whites. His car was seized, and because it was a Friday they said


he couldn't collect it till after the weekend. And the total bill?


the Monday it was �300 for towing away, 184 the clamp. Storage at �42,


then on top of that you are virtually obliged to pay by credit


card because not many people can lay their hands on �800 on the spot.


They charged 5% of the total. So the total I paid was �680.40.


is a tidy sum. Now we're on our way to a car park to get clamped. So


what are the rules on this business? There's never a car


parking expert when you need one. Here's one! What Patrick Troy


doesn't know about parking isn't worth knowing. Clamping on private


Clamping on private land is an unregulated industry. We produce


guidelines which we expect clamping companies to sign up to. But it is


voluntary and the company you are investigating isn't a member. They


are therefore not controlled. So Whites, by not signing up, don't


have to keep to the guidelines. OK, so what are their rules? Let's park


somewhere we shouldn't. A private staff car park in Eastleigh in


Hampshire. Sorry, Blockbuster. While my pretend sister and I go


off shopping, this happens. I have been clamped? You're joking.


How much will it cost? It will cost 180. 180 quid? If we can't get the


money... You will get it code. will cost more. �120 on that.


�180 for the clamp release and on top of that, a possible �300 tow-


away fee. It seems there's nothing I can do it about it. It wasn't


reasonable and, by any definition, that was excessive. What we say in


our code is that you either have a clamp release fee or you have a


tow-away fee. You can't charge both. There should be one charge. It is


meant to be a deterrent. It shouldn't be excessive and it


shouldn't be unreasonable. After a fake trip to the cash point,


I pretend I can't get the �180. The car therefore will be taken to the


compound just a few minutes' away, but I'm told I can't collect my car.


They'll have to deliver it to me. And guess what? That's another 50


quid. He'll charge for delivery. Well, I don't want him to deliver.


The overnight the I would get charged and on top of that, he has


to deliberate. You are just making it up.


Meanwhile, the boss himself Jason White has arrived and is preparing


to take my wheels away. And it's all going to cost me �614.


Argue Mr White? Yes. The -- why you. How can you justify �600? It


doesn't cost you �600 to run a tow truck. The Government set the


guidelines. The Government doesn't say �600. That is rubbish.


White's signs do list all the charges he's come up with, so he


could say we've all been warned. But there's a lot of charges, and a


lot of small print. Do you not have to give me paperwork at all? You


can't just take my car. The next day, at a time decided by


Whites Car Park solutions, I'm told to return to Blockbuster car park.


Our man wants his cash. But there's no sign of my car. You've got to


pay me now, sign a receipt and then he'll bring it back. Until you hand


it over to me, that vehicle's not This is a joke. You guys get


funnier every time. So I hand over the 600 quid. And Mr White rings to


check the transaction is complete. All done, waiting for you. While he


writes the recede, it all starts to come back. -- receipt. This clamper


Heart-to-heart over, it's back to business. Cue Mr White and my car.


Now the tiny issue of getting my car off his truck.


I can't, I've got to wait for my sister.


In the end, we push it off. How do you come up with your fees?


You have to speak to the Government So if I wanted to complain?


In fact, it's the SIA, the Security Industry Authority, who issue


clampers like Mr White with their licences, but they won't


investigate individual complaints. And as for Mr White's claim that


the Government authorises the fees, that's rubbish. In fact, next year


there's expected to be a new law that bans clamping on private land


all together. We did ask Mr White for an


interview, but he didn't take us up on our offer. So for now he's at


liberty to carry on clamping and charging fees that the British


Parking Association says This isn't about extortion. This is


about managing private land and clamping is simply a means of


managing private land. It shouldn't be seen as a way of making lots of


money out of people or of extorting money out of people.


Seven months after he was clamped, World War II veteran Mr Wilson is


still fuming. The man is absolutely beneath contempt. A lot of my


friends were killed fighting for the freedom that Jason White uses -


or misuses - to inflict on his Our bill for cleaning up our litter


is reportedly a staggering �885 million across England. In these


cash-strapped days, that's money councils can ill afford. So I've


been following a litter trail to find out if any northern town has


the answer. Three Northern towns trying to


become cities. Trying to deal with one problem. It's like a bomb's


gone off, really, sometimes. Everything is on the floor, chips,


Cygnus, debris, Greece. Litter is a big issue in this country. You


wouldn't throw it in your own house. In Doncaster, Bolton and


Middlesbrough, councils have told us picking up litter is simply a


waste of money. It's coming out of your pocket. And if you don't think


it is a problem, take another look. Every place has a different tactic.


In Doncaster, they'll hunt you down. Then nab you. I am part of the


council's enforcement team, and I speak to you about your cigarette


ends? This is possibly the toughest council in England when it comes to


litter enforcement. If you drop litter, you can get fined �75.


Paul Scarborough and his colleagues actually have targets for the


amount of fines they hand out, because they say being all nicey


nicey just doesn't wash. Really, we have got to be a situation where we


have got to have teeth. The �75 is the teeth.


And they do it because they'd rather not spend money from


increasingly stretched budgets on picking up our rubbish.


In England alone, local authorities spend an average of �885 million on


street cleansing and that's obviously money that could be much


better spent on other things. Doncaster would have �3 million


every year to spend on other things. Across the Pennines, in Bolton,


litter costs �2.8 million. In Middlesbrough, they don't know the


exact cost, but the council takes a totally different tack.


They focus much more on changing people's behaviour. And if that


doesn't work, they tell you off. Would the man in the black jacket


and the grey trousers pick up your litter?


Five years ago, talking cameras were brought in. I do think it


works. We do have 21 cameras in the town. That covers a lot of ground


and a lot of people pick up the litter. Have you ever seen it work?


We have got some footage of a lady, who, on a night out has ripped up a


yellow Pages book and the talking camera that had to pick up the


litter and she picked it up and that every piece in the bin.


In Doncaster, they find fear works better. If they're caught, they


will be fined. And therefore we hope it's in the back of people's


minds that it might be them that gets caught next. And therefore we


think that's why zero tolerance works.


But not with everyone. It is just the Government way of making easy


money. They are getting paid for people's mistakes, which is how


government works. In Doncaster last year, they raised


a cool �120,000 in fines. Compared to �6,000 in Bolton. And


Middlesbrough? Just �250. I think what we've got is a measure of


success because we don't need to fine people. So you don't worry


that Doncaster's bringing in all this money and Middlesbrough's not?


His Doncaster cleaner than Middlesbrough?


Well, no. But litter is such a tricky issue, even campaign groups


are arguing about it. It's a British institution. Keep


Britain Tidy, based in Wigan, has been around for 50 years. But now a


new band of litter activists say continuing to fund it is throwing


taxpayers' money in the bin. Their campaigning just hasn't worked and


if you asked me to provide evidence of that, well, there are streets


like this all over England which unfortunately provide the results


and the evidence. John Read launched Clean Up Britain


this year with the help of celebrities.


Litter is a big issue in this country, it's grown 500% in 20


years. You wouldn't throw litter in your own house. It is a group of


private individuals who have got together with a range of


professional skills to have come together to run this campaign.


And by saying Keep Britain Tidy is failing, they've caused quite a


stir. It is disappointing, we try and campaign and good things in the


media so it does seem daft to Trust -- set up something against us, but


that is what they have chosen But Keep Britain Tidy's campaigns,


like this, are part-funded by the taxpayer. And on top of that, they


ask councils in towns like Doncaster for even more money.


Can we afford it? In Bolton, they're already feeling the pinch.


Unfortunately, with the cutbacks and everything, it has deteriorated.


Because of the workforce, unfortunately. We are actually


trying to make sure that people don't drop litter in the first


place. It is a mind to change that we need. When we have it -- areas


that were exceedingly poor, especially in the North of England,


people always used to go out and clean the street in front of their


houses. It didn't stop that pride in where they lived. Where did that


pride go? Here is one random search of a


rural road near Middlesbrough. Look closer. And even if you think


littering is wrong, there you intervene?


The thing is, if we see somebody Douet, what are we supposed to do?


Does it take guts to throw -- tell someone offer for littering.


You dropped some that are just there. That cigarette packet.


yes. Why did you do it? I don't know. By you go into stop it?


did you put it down? -- Are you going to stop it. Sorry. I know you


are sorry. Let's find a been, it is just there. I'm sorry. It is


embarrassing, isn't it? Most people, when you tell them


about it, they know they have done wrong and they put it right, but


they have done it, haven't they? It councils didn't pick up litter,


who would? Middlesbrough and Bolton councils have accepted our


challenge not to clean the street to see what would happen. The


question is, do we really want to keep Britain tidy? Bolton agreed to


leave 100m of a town centre street unclean for a day. And this is what


we found. I am shocked and I think the


majority of people who see that kind of letter will quite -- were


quite shocked at what they saw, because that would normally have


all been cleaned away in the early hours. We asked a local children to


clean up the mess. But in Middlesbrough, it is going


to be a much tougher job. The council that one mile of its


busiest road unclean for a whole weekend. It is disgusting. Loads of


plastic bags everywhere, crisp packets, cigarette packets. Maybe


they should have come out at 8 o'clock in the morning. It is a bit


late. Would you say to damages your business? Definitely. -- it damages.


It is so dirty, every so often, we watch it ourselves. Cleaning our


own bit of the street might not be at a bad idea with council budgets


under pressure. -- a bad idea. And in this one


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