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Ultra Low Emission Zone PCN, Didn't even realise it existed.
JaspaC
post Tue, 14 Jan 2020 - 13:38
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Hi,

On Boxing Day I had to travel to London for work (Lucky Me). I live in Birmingham and followed the sat nav to get to south London and returned on the 29th Dec. I’m not familiar with London’s roads and the place I was working was a new site I’d not been to before. I am however, aware of the congestion charge and made sure to check the cost of this in advance, which I was pleased to find out is suspended between Christmas and new year, so no problems there I thought.

I’ve just received a PCN for the Ultra Low Emissions Zone for £80 (£240) which will almost wipe out any wages I will have earned for volunteering to work on boxing day! Until this arrived I’d never even heard of the ULEZ and didn’t have a clue that there was an additional charging scheme to the congestion charge.

I’ve looked at the location on google maps and I can see the signs at the entrance are all bundled together with the congestion charge signs, so presumably I saw those and continued thinking it didn’t matter as it was suspended during that time. The ULEZ signs aren’t particularly obvious in pointing out that you are entering a charging zone (well, a 2nd charging zone!).

I have since checked and my car (a Peugeot 206 hatchback) does not comply with the ULEZ regulations.
I’ve only received a PCN for my return journey, which I think is because the sat nav took me a slightly different route on the way there, presumably avoiding the ULEZ zone.
As you can see in the google maps photos (attached), there are 8 road signs to read as you drive past, which is quite overwhelming, especially if you need to navigate other cars and pedestrians at the same time. To make it worse, the writing on these signs is quite small, which is difficult to read because you will either be a)moving past them or b) stopped 20m away as there is a box junction in front of the signs. Once you are close enough to read all 8 signs you are already committed to travelling straight ahead. I can’t remember if I had to stop at the traffic lights or not on the day.

There is one sign on the approach to the junction on the far R/H/S (I would have been in the lane on the L/H/S) which has a faint coloured ULEZ logo but no mention of what that means.

After the junction there is a camera sign with the congestion charge symbol, but no ULEZ symbol. Should the ULEZ scheme display these signs too? Presumably it uses the same cameras?

Google Maps Link:
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.5011986,-0....6384!8i8192

I was heading from East to West on Druid Street and entered the ULEZ after crossing straight over the junction with Tower Bridge Road.

Any help much appreciated,


Jasper





PCN:
Page 4 Page 5 Page 6
Google Maps Screenshots:


This post has been edited by JaspaC: Tue, 14 Jan 2020 - 13:39
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post Tue, 14 Jan 2020 - 13:38
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Incandescent
post Tue, 14 Jan 2020 - 14:12
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In order to fight this one, you will have to take TfL to London Tribunals because TfL will not accept that their signs are flawed. In addition, the adjudicators at London Tribunals seem almost to be in cahoots with TfL (I'm not saying they are BTW, just that decisions so far seem to ignore perfectly valid appeal arguments). If you do want to fight this, then you have to forego the discount, and the penalty is a very hefty £180. (grotesquely large IMHO). The argument that the ULEZ signs mean nothing to most people outside London falls on deaf ears, as does the defect in that the sign gives no hint that a charge may be payable to enter the zone. The only argument that seems to win is (1) if a policement directs you off your route into the ULEZ, and (2) the sign is missing or obscured.

Basically the Mayor of London has got your b&lls in a rattrap. There have been very few LT appeals because I suspect t he £180 penalty is just too much to take the risk of appealing.
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Neil B
post Tue, 14 Jan 2020 - 14:40
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Why did you mention £240 ?


--------------------
QUOTE (DancingDad @ Fri, 11 May 2018 - 12:30) *
Neil is good at working backwards.

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JaspaC
post Tue, 14 Jan 2020 - 16:46
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Neil B, I should have mentioned £160 not £240. I.E. £80 paid within 2 weeks, £160 paid within 4 weeks else £240 paid any later.

Thanks Incandescent, I agree the PCN amount is disgusting and I don't see why a PCN in London should be more harsh on the motorist than elsewhere. So if I were to lose at a Tribunal they would not have to re-offer the discount?
Also, would I be able to attend a tribunal local to me in Birmingham rather than travel all the way down to London again?
It's a ridiculous situation and to be honest it makes me angry just thinking about it.


I've done a bit of research, do you think this would make a credible argument?..



https://tsrgd.co.uk/pdf/tsrgd/tsrgd2016.pdf

Page 132

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/go...lar-01-2016.pdf
Page 42


The signs do not say 'charging' as the TSRGD dictates and there is no mention of any additional category for ULEZ signage.

This post has been edited by JaspaC: Tue, 14 Jan 2020 - 16:47
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Incandescent
post Tue, 14 Jan 2020 - 19:21
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Of course you can use the argument you suggest, but don't be disappointed if it doesn't win at London Tribunals. Transport for London have put out all sorts for b*llsh*t about how the zone has been widely advertised but the legal position is that the signs should reflect the restriction and they don't, internet or no internet TfL webpages. But just try telling that to an LT adjudicator !!
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cp8759
post Tue, 14 Jan 2020 - 22:53
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QUOTE (Incandescent @ Tue, 14 Jan 2020 - 19:21) *
...the legal position is that the signs should reflect the restriction

Sadly no, the legislation is says TFL must install the signs that TFL thinks are adequate, LATOR does not apply.


--------------------
I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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JaspaC
post Thu, 16 Jan 2020 - 13:12
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So just to clarify, will the discount be offered again after an appeal to TfL, just not after a tribunal?

Just wondering if it's even worth sending an appeal.

Thanks
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Incandescent
post Thu, 16 Jan 2020 - 15:39
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Tue, 14 Jan 2020 - 22:53) *
QUOTE (Incandescent @ Tue, 14 Jan 2020 - 19:21) *
...the legal position is that the signs should reflect the restriction

Sadly no, the legislation is says TFL must install the signs that TFL thinks are adequate, LATOR does not apply.

OK. but an adjudicator can still decide it is not completely sufficient by having nothing to indicate it is a charging zone, but they dont. Pretty unfair IMHO.

As for the discount, there is no obligation on TfL to re-offer it, and no right to it after an adjudication rules against you.

This post has been edited by Incandescent: Thu, 16 Jan 2020 - 15:40
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JaspaC
post Fri, 17 Jan 2020 - 11:28
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Thanks Incandescent,

What about after a NOR?

I would love to pick some really obscure road signs and ask the Tribunal Adjudicator to explain their meaning, just to demonstrate my point. Sadly £160 is just too high a price for that satisfaction.
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hcandersen
post Fri, 17 Jan 2020 - 11:42
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OP, TfL are not obliged to re-offer the discount at any stage.

In fact we don't even know when the first discount expires because you've deleted the date of issue of the PCN so while you go on about prospective discounts you are in danger of missing the first!!

What is the date of issue?

. I am however, aware of the congestion charge and made sure to check the cost of this in advance,

How? What website? The ones I've looked at also refer to ULEZ!

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JaspaC
post Fri, 17 Jan 2020 - 12:49
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Thanks,


I removed the date from the PCN because I thought it would be sensible not to make it easy to identify, I thought this forum advised that? Luckily I haven't erased it from the actual PCN or from my memory so I won't miss the discount deadline.


This is the website I checked after googling it (first result) and I stopped reading when I got to the line about the charge not applying over Christmas.

J

This post has been edited by JaspaC: Fri, 17 Jan 2020 - 12:49
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JaspaC
post Tue, 21 Jan 2020 - 10:30
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Today is the last day of the discount. Unless someone's sitting on some great advice for the final hour, then I'm going to have to pay it.

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Incandescent
post Tue, 21 Jan 2020 - 11:17
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I'm afraid appealing these ULEZ PCNs has proved problematic so far, and the adjudicators seem adamant that the signs are adequate. Obviously they think there is some sort of passport control on entry to London where all strangers are told about the ULEZ !!
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JaspaC
post Tue, 21 Jan 2020 - 12:44
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Ridiculous isn't it! Thanks for your help anyway Incandescent
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JaspaC
post Fri, 7 Feb 2020 - 11:58
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FYI, I made representations and have received a NoR.

Representations:

Living in Birmingham, this was the first time I had driven through London. I was not aware of the Ultra Low Emmissions Zone and hence would only have been aware of it if there had been adequate signage. I was aware of the Congestion Charge and had been informed that this did not apply between Christmas and New Year and hence I drove through central London without paying any charges.
The only opportunity to view the signs at the entrance to the ULEZ on Druid Street (approaching from the South on Druid Street) is from the other side of the junction with Tower Bridge Road. This is a 30mph road and with three lanes of traffic driving in the same direction. By the time the signs were visible I was already committed to driving straight ahead due to the my positioning within the lanes and surrounding traffic. This is a box junction and hence it would of course be illegal to stop within it to read the signs.
It’s very difficult, if not impossible to assimilate all of the information displayed across eight different road signs, spread out on both sides of the road at this junction whilst driving. This is quite overwhelming, especially if you need to navigate other cars and pedestrians (as seen in the camera photo) at the same time. The ULEZ signage has very small lettering and no information regarding any charge. As I passed the junction I did manage to identify the congestion charge zone sign but ignored it as it was not applicable.
Having since viewed the signage on Google Maps, I can see that there is an additional sign on the approach to the junction on the right hand side. However the red route was suspended on the date I drove passed it (The signs state Mon-Sat 7am – 7pm) and hence the view of this sign from my car in the left hand lane was blocked by parked traffic. This sign is not repeated on the left hand side of the road for some reason.
Therefore even if I had been able to recognise the ULEZ sign, I would not have seen it until it was too late to take any corrective action without breaking the law and/or causing an accident.
I’m not adverse to paying the daily charge if and when I drive through London again in the future, however I do feel that the signage is quite misleading and perhaps intended to catch people out in order to generate income from penalty charges. A more honest approach would be very much appreciated.
Additionally the penalty charge doesn’t seem very reflective of similar traffic penalty charges elsewhere in the country. I’ve researched it and for example in Darlington a typical parking or bus lane penalty charge is £70 (£90 less than this PCN). Presumably this is to reflect the relatively higher income of people living in London, but this doesn’t seem particularly fair for drivers like myself who do not live in London.
Google Maps Screenshots Attached.


NoR (2nd February):

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Incandescent
post Fri, 7 Feb 2020 - 13:00
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Basically, they've written a huge amount of b*llshot as justification which makes me think they feel guilty about whalloping complete strangers to London, but their masters won't allow them to forego the PCN penalty and let first time offenders just pay the actual toll. Contrast this with the DART crossing management, who are far more foregiving of people crossing for the first time.

The venality of Transport for London is quite shocking.

So far, almost all appeals to London Tribunals have failed, and one does have to ask if LT are perhaps letting TfL get away with far too much.
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JaspaC
post Fri, 7 Feb 2020 - 14:06
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Thanks Incandescent, my thoughts exactly. It's just paragraphs and paragraphs of irrelevant cr*p, that seems to have been written by a child.

I'm still umming and arring about whether to take the risk with the Tribunal. I just feel so cheated. I'm angry that they can take advantage of me so dishonestly and get away with it by threatening to double the fine if I challenge it.


If I put together an application for the London Tribunals would you be able to look through it and make some recommendations please?

Then I've got almost 2 weeks to decide whether to actually submit it.


Thanks

J

This post has been edited by JaspaC: Fri, 7 Feb 2020 - 14:08
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Incandescent
post Fri, 7 Feb 2020 - 16:40
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The ULEZ PCNS work the same way as the others; you get a short opportunity to pay the discount, then it is the full penalty if you appeal it. It is a double-or-quits gamble basically. If it were me, I'd not go to London Tribunals unless you have a cast-iron case, and at the moment I don't see one. Ignorance of the law is not a defense, even though we now have these quite local schemes that everybody in the United Kingdom is supposed to know about. London Tribunals can only decide on legal matters, not that you were not aware of the scheme, so missing signs is an appeal argument, but virtually nothing else. The whole thing disgusts me, but there's not much I can do except not vote the cretins that put this in, and I don't live in London !
Sorry to have to say it, but at the moment I cannot see any credible appeal, but others may spot one.

This post has been edited by Incandescent: Fri, 7 Feb 2020 - 16:40
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JaspaC
post Fri, 7 Feb 2020 - 19:19
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Thanks. I do understand, it's a crap situation.



I've written a letter to the tribunal anyway (and haven't decided whether to send it yet).


Do you think there is anything in here that will give a chance of success?



---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Living in Birmingham, this was the first time I had driven through London. I was not aware of the Ultra Low Emmissions Zone and hence would only have been aware of it if there had been adequate signage. I was aware of the Congestion Charge and had been informed that this did not apply between Christmas and New Year and hence I drove through central London without paying any charges.

The only opportunity to view the signs at the entrance to the ULEZ on Druid Street (approaching from the South on Druid Street) is from the other side of the junction with Tower Bridge Road. This is a 30mph road and with three lanes of traffic driving in the same direction. By the time the signs were visible I was already committed to driving straight ahead due to the my positioning within the lanes and surrounding traffic. This is a box junction and hence it would of course be illegal to stop within it to read the signs.

It’s very difficult, if not impossible to assimilate all of the information displayed across eight different road signs, spread out on both sides of the road at this junction whilst driving. This is quite overwhelming, especially if you need to navigate other cars and pedestrians (as seen in the camera photo) at the same time. The ULEZ signage has very small lettering and no information regarding any charge. As I passed the junction I did manage to identify the congestion charge zone sign but ignored it as it was not applicable.

Having since viewed the signage on Google Maps, I can see that there is an additional sign on the approach to the junction on the right hand side. However the red route was suspended on the date I drove passed it (The signs state Mon-Sat 7am – 7pm) and hence the view of this sign from my car in the left hand lane was blocked by parked traffic (Similar to the view on google maps, though this will have been taken from a Google car with a camera mounted high above the roof, hence why you can see other car roofs). This sign is not repeated on the left hand side of the road for some reason.

Therefore even if I had been able to recognise the ULEZ sign, I would not have seen it until it was too late to take any corrective action without breaking the law and/or causing an accident.

TfL have stated within their NoR that they have used an extensive advertising and publicity campaign. I have found details of this campaign on the Mayor’s office website:
A major awareness campaign is underway by Transport for London (TfL) to ensure drivers are prepared for the introduction of ULEZ. This includes contacting more than 2.5 million registered Congestion Charge users whose vehicles do not meet the ULEZ standards, to remind them the new zone begins on 8 April 2019. TfL is also contacting other drivers it identifies in central London whose vehicles are not currently ULEZ-compliant. This has helped encourage 1.5 million visits to TfL’s online compliance checker so far.

More than 300 ULEZ warning signs are currently being installed across central London. The signs warn drivers at all entry points to the zone, and on a number of key approach routes, to ensure their vehicle meets the tough new emission standards. These are complemented by posters and digital banners across the whole TfL network, a social media campaign and adverts across print, radio and online video. To date, 3,000 businesses have been spoken to by TfL officials to make them aware of the introduction of ULEZ. Many of these businesses have confirmed that they are already ULEZ compliant or are putting in place plans to upgrade their vehicles.


All of these advertising efforts are only helpful to people living in London. These adverts have not been used across the country in the same way that other road traffic schemes have been. For example, smart motorways have been publically advertised on TV, newspaper and radio adverts nationwide, why was a similar effort not made to publicise the ULEZ to all of the motorists in the country?

If the subtle green signs are adequate enough on their own for people who are not familiar with the scheme then why did TfL recognise the need for ‘an extensive advertising and publicity compaign’ but limit it to motorists living in London. Is it acceptable that TfL only chose to make some of the population aware of the scheme and leave others to be caught out by the system.

TfL have stated within their NoR that they have been authorised to use the signage by the DfT as per document GT50/139/0171. The document does authorise TfL to use these specific signs but clause 4 of this document actually states: “The Secretary of State hereby directs that – (1) Without prejudice to any regulations made under paragraph 22 (1) (e) of Schedule 9 to the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984; the authorised signs A and B shall be placed on or near any road in Greater London in sufficient numbers and in appropriate positions to indicate to all traffic entering the London Ultra Low Emission Zone the nature of the provisions of a Scheme.”
At this entrance to the ULEZ TfL have used signs A and B on the far side of a box junction. Meaning at the last point at which a motorist could stop they are still 20m away from the signs and will have had to have started braking (if they’d already read all of the signs) at least 23m earlier if traveling at the maximum permitted speed on Druid Street of 30mph. During this time and from the same distance they must concentrate on a busy crossroad, 2 pedestrian crossings (which had pedestrians attempting to cross at the time I passed it, as seen in the ANPR camera photo), traffic lights and somehow assimilate information from 8 different road signs and 2 floor markings! Then, even if this had been achieved, it would be too late to legally divert to a different route because in the middle lane you are committed to driving straight ahead. It’s a one way street and there are busy lanes of traffic on either side of you.

For this reason the signage is clearly inadequate and not in an appropriate position, as required by document GT50/139/0171. Whilst the document does authorise TfL to use the signs I’m afraid it does not state that DfT has reviewed the positioning and agreed that it meets this criteria.

Similarly, clause 4(2) states “Without prejudice to any regulations made under paragraph 22 (1) (e) of Schedule 9 to the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984; the authorised signs C-F or signs incorporating symbols G and H may be placed on or near any road in Greater London in sufficient numbers and in appropriate positions to indicate to all traffic entering the London Ultra Low Emission Zone the nature of the provisions of a Scheme.”
This implies that if TfL erected a sign with Symbol H then it should also be in an appropriate position and indicate to all traffic entering the London Ultra Low Emission Zone the nature of the provisions of a Scheme. Symbol H has been used on Druid Street but has only been positioned on one sign. A sign which is not visible to all lanes of traffic at all times.

Additionally in my view none of the signs fully indicate the provisions of the scheme.

Document GT50/139/0171 also authorises the use of two preliminary warning signs to be used in the time running up to the implementation of the scheme (Sign E and Sign F).
  • Why did TfL feel it was necessary to warn drivers in advance if they are now so convinced that the permanent signs are more than adequate at conveying all of the necessary information upon first sight without any prior knowledge of the scheme.
  • Why are these preliminary signs coloured red with capitalised font typically associated with danger signs. If this was necessary back then why do they no longer feel it is necessary, and now use a much more subtle green sign.
  • Why is that courtesy of an advanced warning not extended to drivers who live outside of London and have only visited since the red signs have been replaced with the permanent green signs.


I have also read that TfL did not issue any charges in the first month of the scheme because it was ‘new’. Is it not reasonable to expect them to recognise that the scheme is new to me as an outsider to London.

The ULEZ signs state “At all times”, despite the ULEZ not being applicable at all times (the charge is not applicable on Christmas Day). So either TfL change the signage on Christmas day every year or this portion of the sign is irrelevant.

I’m not adverse to paying the daily charge if and when I drive through London again in the future, however I do feel that the signage is quite misleading and perhaps intended to catch people out in order to generate income from penalty charges. A more honest approach would be very much appreciated.

Additionally the penalty charge doesn’t seem very reflective of similar traffic penalty charges elsewhere in the country. I’ve researched it and for example in Darlington a typical parking or bus lane penalty charge is £70 (£90 less than this PCN). Presumably this is to reflect the relatively higher income of people living in London, but this doesn’t seem particularly fair for drivers like myself who do not live in London. Maybe TfL already know the significance of the difference in costs between London and elsewhere in the country, since they have chosen to locate their ULEZ offices 250 miles away in Darlington.

I appreciate that this may mean several PCN’s in the future may be invalid too but I ask that you remain unbiased and make an independent decision based on the facts here and not any previous supposed justifications provided by TfL or your own awareness of the scheme as regular visitor/resident of London.



------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


With regards to the discounted amount not being applicable after a hearing, I have found this on another thread:


Thread Here

The adjudicator seems to imply that if I submit within 14 days of receiving the NoR that I will still be eligible for the discount if the Tribunal rules against me. Do you think this will be the case?

On the Tribunal application is states "If you are unsure whether your reasons fall into one of the categories, submit an appeal anyway and let the Tribunal decide", seems a bit hash to encourage people to risk another £80 fine when they are unsure.



Thanks,


J

This post has been edited by JaspaC: Fri, 7 Feb 2020 - 19:21
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Incandescent
post Fri, 7 Feb 2020 - 20:11
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QUOTE
The adjudicator seems to imply that if I submit within 14 days of receiving the NoR that I will still be eligible for the discount if the Tribunal rules against me. Do you think this will be the case?



Unfortunately not. There is no right to a discount once the 14 day discount period expires, and certainly not if the matter goes to adjudication. The NoR may, of course re-offer the discount but there is no legal requirement to do so. Are you quoting from a parking case ? These are under totally separate legislation. Morally, the discount should be re-offered if your reps are received by them within the discount period even though they may take weeks replying, but its not a legal right. Nottingham CC, for instance play hard ball and are notorious for their anti-motorist attitude, (I hope they all rot in hell, BTW).

Be in no doubt, the full PCN penalty of £160 is in play at adjudication
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