River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Letter to the Editor 1

December 2006

Brenda and Paul take Graham Forster to task for his criticism last month of people who tow caravans!

Dear Ray,

I would agree that a very few caravan owners are unthinking selfish individuals, however this is more applicable to lorry drivers with far longer trailers driving at 40 / 45 miles an hour and in particular on the A134 from Thetford, and these are even more difficult to pass. A recent survey confirming that 75% were, either not road worthy or, over laden responsible for untold damage to our roads. In addition the pollution they cause, unlike caravans.

We have owned a caravan for many years and have towed in excess of 18,000 miles both here and abroad. We are members of the Caravan Club and the unwritten etiquette is that if there are five or more vehicles behind that one pulls over at the first opportunity, a rule we have made every attempt to adhere to, as in the main many of our tractors do. In any event we try to maintain a sensible speed usually around the 50 m p h mark.

Most caravaners have bought caravans to keep the expense of holiday lower, they still have to eat, and it is likely that they will visit stately homes and other attractions of the area. In doing so, certainly in this area, bring considerable amount of wealth to the county. Wealth which would not be available if hotels and bed and breakfast's were the only alternative.

The suggestion that there should be tax levied on caravans is preposterous and stupid, why has raising the taxes on everything suddenly been the alleged panacea for curing nebulous ills, and in this case to exactly what end? Mr Foster should remind himself how lucky he is to live in the country, a joy which is not daily available to the caravaners living in filthy cities. Bringing their caravans out to the countryside can be quite literally a life saver.

It seems exceptionally mean to me to be laughing at some one's problems in this case trying to reverse a caravan over lumpy ill cut grass, how very unkind and un Christian. Yes it is difficult, but at least it is a small price to pay for having a decent holiday.

The simple possible solution would be to make it law that if there are five or more vehicles behind then is to pull over, this may be easier said than done

because of the total lack of road side facilities or lay-bys currently to be found. As far as I am aware this rule is current in many of the European counties.

Caravan owners in this country in fact benefit from low insurance, solely because they are regarded as being a good risk, and it is utterly fallacious to suggest that they are towing too bigger vans. The first question one is asked on buying a van is what is the 'Kerb Weight' of your towing vehicle. I believe it is an offence to sell a caravan over that weight to your current vehicle. Any one trying to do this will very quickly find out that the towed caravan become totally unmanageable. The very first rule always has been what is the combination of kerb weight and towing power?

May I suggest that in the unlikely event Mr Forster is troubled by slow moving caravans in the future that he simply pull over and take a break for ten minutes perhaps saving himself from high blood pressure and even a possible heart attack!

Paul and Brenda Holley

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