There have been a number of reports in the press regarding drivers in Spain being fined for driving in the
centre lane of a motorway, even when the road is clear. This is an offence and drivers who do so can be
fined, but the reality is, other than we drive on the right in Spain, there is no difference to the UK, where
“middle lane hogging” is also an offence.
Looking at how the two countries compare on roads with more than one lane in the direction of travel, if
we first look at the UK, and what Rule 264 of the Highway Code states.
“You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking a
number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely
Comparing that to Spain, where we drive on the right, in fact the rule says as far to the right as possible,
Article 31 of the Reglamento General Circulacion is where we see rules for normal traffic flow explained.
“On roads with more than one lane for the direction of travel, the normal flow of traffic is in the right
hand lane, although you can use the other lane(s) when traffic circumstances dictate”, there is also an
extension of the rule which states “provided you do not hinder the progress of another vehicle”.
Although the wording is slightly different, bearing in mind the Spanish version is an interpretation for
ease of understanding and not a literal translation, the concept is the same. Under normal traffic
circumstances, unless traffic determines otherwise, in the UK we should always drive in the left-hand
lane, in Spain we should always use the right-hand lane.
The problem has always been one of understanding the rules of the road. The concept forms an integral
part of UK driver training, and has done for many years. You only have to look through historic copies of
the Highway Code and you will see the rules clearly printed. But it is a rule seemingly difficult for many
In 2004, the UK launched a pilot scheme with road signs pointing out the correct lane discipline, and yet
these were still largely ignored.
More recently, the UK changed their procedure for dealing with drivers who remain in the centre lane,
by changing the procedure for reporting the offence and making it punishable by fixed penalty notice,
thus drivers can be fined on the spot and be 100 pound out of pocket.
Back in Spain, the same process is already in place. That is why drivers are issued with on the spot fines,
not because they are targeted for being foreigners or any of the other excuses that have been made, but
because driving in the right-hand lane is the normal procedure for the flow of traffic, and the fact that
“nobody else was around” is not a justifiable excuse for committing any offence.
Do you like to sing? Alone in the shower or with friends? Are you in a choir and looking for
something a little different to enjoy as a group? Or Maybe you have never sung in a group
before? Whichever of these, we can help you.
In just one weekend this coming October, the Spanish Association of Barbershop Singers
(SABS) offer a unique opportunity to singers everywhere to learn a cappella four-part
If you like to sing and have never tried this before, you will love it and if you are an old hand,
there will definitely be something new to learn from fabulous champion quartet, PZAZZ,
who are being flown in from the UK, especially to work and sing with us.
So put 6 th to 8 th October in your diary and enjoy this special weekend. It’s not too late to sign
up and get your teach tracks and music, just go to the website: www.sabs.es and click on the
Harmony College tab for full information.
Singers of all ages will be very welcome and can enjoy singing in a men’s, ladies’ and mixed
chorus. You will be learning two a cappella songs during the weekend.
The event will be based at the Hotel Costa Narejos in the lovely resort of Los Alcázares in
Murcia. The Hotel Costa Narejos is by the beach and you can bring your family if you would
SABS is very keen to spread the joy of learning a cappella (singing without a backing track)
“We had a wonderful time at our last event which is open to everyone who likes to sing” said
SABS President, Lyn Baines, “It’s a great weekend, with a chance to make new friends as
you sing together. Yes it’s quite hard work but such fun too. On the closing afternoon,
everyone will get a chance to perform to an invited audience of family and friends.”
Lyn goes on to remind us of the relaxation time “Get to know your new friends better at the
‘Afterglows’ at the end of each day. This is a very unique time when people get together to
chat and sing.”
Full details of the SABS Harmony College can be found at http://www.sabs.es/cm2/music-
search/harmony-college- 2017 or email email@example.com to find out how you can become
involved in this very special weekend. Places are limited and are being snapped up fast, so
please make sure you register today; we don’t want you to be disappointed.
Freedom of movement ‘will not continue as we know it’ post Brexit. The Prime Minister has
insisted that the free movement of people from the EU into Britain will end in 2019.
It contradicts suggestions from Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond that the current
rules in place could continue for a transitional period after the UK leaves the European
Richard Hammond said recently that there should be no ‘cliff edge’ for immigration when
Britain leaves the EU in 2019. He implied that current immigration rules should remain in
place during any transitional period after Brexit, which could last up to three years.
“At the present time, we have a high level of dependence on foreign workers in the UK.
“Nobody wants us to go over a cliff edge in March 2019 where suddenly our health services
are unable to cope, social care is unable to deliver,” he told the press.
Disagreements within the conservative party are sparking disapproval from opposing MPs.
“The government is in total disarray. Unless the cabinet can agree on a position how can it
possibly negotiate Brexit on behalf of Britain with the EU?” Tom Brake MP said.
The government has not specified what the arrangement will entail, although MPs have
brushed off the idea of a Norwegian-style arrangement.
Airlines have warned of long queues at passport control on landing in EU countries due to
greater checks in light of the rising terror risk across the continent.
And in Barcelona, strike action has led to delays increasing even more, with waits of up to
four hours to get through.
Passengers travelling to Europe from States not in the Schengen passport-free zone are now
checked on databases rather than simply flashing their passport at a police officer.
All this is taking so long that many passengers have reported missing their flights, despite
getting to the airports over three hours before take-off, and being refused entry to the front of
the queue for those which are about to board.
Ryanair, EasyJet and British Airways have all warned passengers to allow several hours'
extra time, and have all criticised the fact that the busiest time of the travelling year – August
– combined with the extra checks have not been properly planned for.
Very few airports have been supplied with extra staff to cover the increased workload.
Minister for aviation in Britain, Lord Callanan, says he is in contact with air travel bosses in
Spain, Portugal and Italy to try to convince them to take greater steps to ensure movements
through passport control upon leaving and arriving were streamlined 'so people can just get
on with their holidays'.
Although the governments in Spain and France have promised to supply additional staff, as
yet nothing has been done.
In one case, a flight to Birmingham left Barcelona airport with 22 empty seats because of
queues passengers had no idea about until they reached the terminal – and although they
begged to go to the front of the queue as their flight was due to board, they were refused and
sent to the back.
Meanwhile, Ryanair has told all British nationals or anyone travelling to and from Britain to
ensure they get to the airport at least three hours before they are due to fly – even if they have
no checked luggage.
Barcelona airport strikes are taking place every Friday until September, and these are also
creating a knock-on effect on the rest of the week.
Who can vote in the General Election on 8 June 2017?
Any British citizen who has reached the age of 18 can register as an overseas voter for up to 15 years after leaving the UK as long as he or she was registered to vote in the UK within the previous 15 years (or, if you were under the age of 18 when you left the UK, if a parent was registered to vote within that time).
Am I already registered to vote as an overseas voter?
An overseas registration lasts 12 months. You must renew your registration each year. If you are not registered to vote, you will need to register by 11.59pm on Monday 22 May in orderto vote in the UK general election on 8 June 2017. Register to vote online any time at gov.uk/register-to-vote. If you’re not sure whether you are registered to vote, check with your local Electoral Registration Office (see https://www.yourvotematters.co.uk/register-to-vote/find-your-local-authority).
How do I vote?
As an overseas voter, you can vote by proxy or by post.
By proxy: You appoint someone to vote on your behalf. We recommend voting by proxy rather than by post, because some postal votes might not reach you in time for you to complete and return them by 10pm on Thursday 8 June.
Your proxy will be sent a proxy polling card telling him or her where and when to vote. You must let your proxy know how you want them to vote on your behalf, for which candidate or party. If your proxy cannot get to the polling place,he or she can apply to vote for you by post. They can apply to do this up to 5pm, 11 working days before election day. Your Electoral Registration Office can give you more details about this.
By post: If you choose to vote by post, please make sure you have time to receive and return your ballot papers by 10 pm on Thursday 8 June. Ballot papers will be sent out from the 12th of May, but to check when your council will start dispatching postal voting packs, contact your local Electoral Registration Office (see above).
The forms for voting by proxy and by post can be downloaded from www.yourvotematters.co.uk.
Once you have completed and signed the appropriate form, return it to your Electoral Registration Office. Some offices accept scanned copies sent by e-mail, but please check first. Once your ballot papers arrive, you should complete and return them immediately to ensure that your vote counts!
Why should I vote?
Because your vote matters. This could be the most historic general election in our times – the future of the UK, your future, the future of your children, your grandchildren and future generations will be decided by the outcome of this election.
How do I choose who to vote for?
Your vote is your business, but we recommend that you choose the candidate who can best protect your rights as a UK citizen in Spain, irrespective of their political party. Tactical voting might be necessary in order to secure your future, so you might find yourself voting against your traditional party affiliation.
DON’T DELAY – GET YOUR VOTE TODAY!
For more information, see http://www.bremaininspain.com/general-election-8-june/
Easyjet launches ten new routes
Airline doubles growth
British low-cost airline easyJet has announced that it is planning to start operating 10 new international routes to and from Spain. The company said that the new flights on offer will increase the number of seats available to and from Spain by 11 percent. This equates to 16.4 million in 2017, compared with 14.7 million in 2016.
The airline plans to open a new base in Palma de Mallorca, start operations in two new airports in Granada in southern Spain and La Palma (Canary Islands), and to add a fourth plane to its fleet in Barcelona. Javier Gándara, General Manager of easyJet Spain, said this expansion will create around 150 jobs.
The new routes will be Valencia to Hamburg, Valencia to Toulouse, Palma de Mallorca to Venice, Granada to Milan, Granada to Manchester, Bilbao to Paris, Santiago de Compostela to Milan, Menorca to London – and the one of most interest to Costa Blanca People readers – Murcia to London, the company said.
Gándara added that easyJet is not considering increasing routes to and from the Spanish capital, given that a large number of flights from competing airlines already take off from Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport, and there is not the same scope for growth as at other airports. The company closed its base of operations in Madrid two years ago.
In the wake of the United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union, easyJet, the fourth most popular airline in Spain, is planning to protect itself against the possible effects of so-called “Brexit” by applying for a license in an EU country so that it can continue operating its European routes, Gándara explained. Currently, more than 50 percent of the company’s flights take off and land outside of the UK.
The low-cost carrier also predicts that the cost of tickets will continue to decrease over the next year, despite the possibility of oil prices increasing.
When asked about remarks made by Michael O’Leary, CEO of easyJet competitor Ryanair, who recently stated that within the next five or 10 years the Irish airline will be able to give tickets away for free, Gándara was dismissive. O’Leary’s comments, which made reference to the profits budget airlines can make from selling passengers optional extras and airport taxes, were, said the easyJet chief, “free and easy publicity.”