Why pancake races have problems

Today is Shrove Tuesday, so traditionally people throughout the United Kingdom make pancakes before the start of Lent – however much they actually will be observing the latter!

This great tradition is also known for one of the wackiest race ideas on the planet – the pancake race, in which you toss (that’s throw up in the air and catch again) a pancake in a frying pan, whilst running along the course.

Sounds simple – and probably used to be, but not any more, as this report shows. There are so many risks and costs involved, that this tradition seems to be falling fowl of modern bureaucracy as well as health and safety rules.

Perhaps someone can tell what exactly these rules and risks are?

London’s “low emission” zone

Tonight I read about London’s new “low emission” zone on the BBC News website.

Germany has been talking about such schemes for a while now, indeed they started issuing the discs last year and I have a green one in my bio-ethanol car. But until now it has been up to the individual towns and cities to decide to implement the scheme. At the start of this year, some of them did – causing discussion amongst the population of the affected cities.  I myself will be travelling to one of these soon (Cologne), so I shall see for myself it it has had an impact.

But back to London – the scheme seems to be more controlled than the German ones, but covers less vehicles.

For a start, cars are exempt to the London scheme – they are not in Germany. In fact, even foreign cars have to get their discs before entering the zones.

On the other hand, the London scheme is being policed by CCTV cameras – something that German cities do not have in such numbers, and even those that do have them cannot, as far as I know, use them to this particular cause.

Critics of the scheme will no doubt sight the cost of upgrading vehicles, something that has been discussed in Germany as well. Whilst this is definitely a valid point, and Germany has made a number of exceptions for residents to avoid the issue, it’s got to be a good way to start reducing the emissions on our roads, hasn’t it?

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