/ Motoring

Have you been driving during the lockdown?

The official rules around driving during the coronavirus lockdown are shifting slightly in England. What are your motoring concerns and experiences so far?

If cars could speak, I suspect mine would tell me it’s enjoying lockdown even less than I am. Bar the odd, high octane excitement of a two-mile round trip to the supermarket, it’s been sitting idly on the driveway, gathering pollen, for weeks now.

Read all the latest COVID-19 news and advice on our dedicated hub

Even putting aside concerns about the potential risk to battery and brakes – if you share these worries, take a look at our advice on maintaining your car during lockdown – cars are just meant to be driven, aren’t they?

My attempts to explain to my car that the rules mean we can’t just go for a drive have fallen on deaf wing mirrors, even when I’ve pointed out that breaking down or, worse, an accident, carries more risk during the coronavirus outbreak.

A relaxation of the rules?

So my car, at least, is probably feeling hopeful now that the rules on driving for exercise or to spend time outdoors in England are being relaxed a little.

But you do still need a reasonable excuse to leave the house, including to drive.

But while official police guidance previously only permitted driving for exercise if the drive took less time than the exercise itself, as of yesterday those who live in England can travel as far as they like for exercise or outdoor activity.

Cars that live in Scotland and Wales will have to wait longer for relaxation of the rules – here the rules remain that exercise should take place close to home.

Anyone in England tempted to visit outdoor places across the borders may find short shrift from Scottish and Welsh police.

Are the rules being enforced?

I’ve warned my overexcited car that even though the rules have been relaxed, a common sense approach is probably the way forward.

I’ll still be looking after it from a maintenance point of view, and I admit it would be nice to stretch my legs somewhere beyond a 5km radius of my house, but I won’t be taking loads of long drives just for the sake of it.

Coronavirus: how to protect yourself and others

Meanwhile the different rules in different countries have potential to lead to confusion over what is and isn’t allowed. Some Which? members have told us that some regional police forces have been taking a stricter approach on driving for exercise than is required by the official rules where they live.

Are you as clear as crystal, or as clear as mud, on what the rules mean for you? What has been your experience of how police are interpreting the rules where you live?

Let us know your thoughts.  


Quite right J.C.L. :-). We are even more British now. What is worse, Ceri mixes her units – 2 miles to the supermarket,………….. 5km radius from her house? But we have far more important matters on our minds, and the Imperial vs Metric debate has been extensively covered over the years. Perhaps Ceri is keeping Which? neutral by covering both bases?

Just in fun Ceri. 🙂 A topical topic to discuss.

Oh come on, more British, unity, under an England heading, raotflmao.
If people do not understand Km then thy should educate themselves and move on, and I was around well before decimalisation and metrication. For the ‘imperialists’ do note a) the world has changed a bit and moved on, b) have you tried buying many things, like from fuel to water in ‘imperial’ units of late.. or translate that other’s ‘imperial’ measures in to the old UK ones?
Perhaps we should devolve to £, S and ‘d’ , or Crowns and Florins, but that might disenfranchise many if not most.

I agree. It’s encouraging that social distancing is interpreted as keeping two metres apart, though in my opinion, three would be better.

In our garage the electricity meter is very close to the gas meter. Should I arrange to have the gas one relocated to keep the two meters apart?

The meter reader told me it should be mounted on a gallows bracket but that sounded a bit macabre. I could see that he was quite a smart meter reader when he arrived so I provided a kneeling pad for when he had to get down on his knees on the dusty garage floor to read the ancient gas meter.

I hasten to advise readers that this encounter in the close confines of our garage took place before isolation and social distancing commenced.

An old lady I knew when I was young always referred to the gas man as the “ghastly spectre”. Flanders and Swann related an unfortunate series of events when the gas man cometh.

But here we go again…..

I wish the darned white doves would social distance, they multiply faster than cars at rush hour. 😐

There really is some ridiculous nonsense being spouted. Since lockdown, despite being over 70 and obviously an unsafe senile idiot, I have taken my car out for exercise once a week or so, to keep the battery up to scratch. to keep the air-con working properly, to stop the brakes seizing up, and to prevent the tyres from developing flat-spots. Turning the engine over in the drive or doing a short journey is no good. I go out, drive twenty or thirty miles or so, returning home without opening the windows, stopping or getting out. Nobody – not anybody including bossy-booted people braying that that’s illegal or I might crash and cause extra stress on the emergency services as government officials have said (what utter tripe) – is going to persuade me that that’s wrong or outside the spirit of the rules. And my car will work at the end of all this. Will yours?

Howard, I cetainly agree with your first point.

In the Before, I usually only used my car about once or twice a fortnight and never usually for any short journeys.

More recently, I have been making occasional short journeys to local supermakets, because I cannot walk back carrying a whole week’s worth of groceries.

I have also done one or two longer trips, e.g. to run errands for folk who do not have access to their own car.

I am finding that the driving experience is different under these conditions. For instance, most other road users seem to be driving more courteously and in less of a rush, while a few seem to be driving faster than I’d expect, perhaps carried away by the temptations of open empty roads.

I am also more aware of mechanical and road noise made by my car, as it is less masked by the background hum of all other traffic. I am also keeping a wary look out for bears, just in case any of them might want to come and interfere with my activities.

Howard, I hope you give as much thought and time to your own health and welfare as you obviously give to your car.

My car hasn’t moved for the last 8 weeks as I am in quarantine, but as it is currently due for its annual service and MOT, I know the local garage will contact me as soon as they resume working again who will pick it up from my home and delivery it back the same day, already to go and I am confident it will be safe for me to drive and although I am much older than you, I don’t consider myself to be either unsafe, senile or idiotic.

I hope you will continue to work as efficiently as your beloved car at the end of all this.

Very concerned about other peoples attitude on the road! Less traffic and drivers are speeding through our village on the A388. We have lockdown but the speed limit is still the same!

I mentioned this earlier, David, though outside the village which has vicious but effective speed humps. It seems to have almost stopped near where I live, probably thanks to more traffic on the roads.

I have noticed that, as relief for the frustration of being penned up for weeks on end, a number of drivers are taking their beloved special vehicles [vets and vints, customised bodies, decorative paintwork, modified engines, glamorous trim, or just dead quirky] out for a gentle spin at a sedate pace in order to display them to whoever is out and about. A gentle press on the bulb and a harmonious toot announces their presence. Great fun and nothing to complain about.

I saw one this morning with a very low-slung body, garish colour scheme and somewhat throaty roar; the chap behind the wheel was obviously unfamiliar with the district because the car was grounding on the speed humps even at very low speed. Some pretty hefty bangs as it drove past.

The Daily Telegraph’s late-lamented Peter Simple column had just such a character called E. Bonnington Jagworth. Perhaps in tribute, my father called himself C. Reg Hillman at times when his motoring habits were under discussion.

J Bonington Jagworth, I think, leader of the Militant Motorists’ Liberation Front. I believe he was also described as the world’s most eminent motorist. I remember reading and enjoying his contributions in my youth when my Dad had the DT delivered daily. In those days it was a proper newspaper.

Thanks, Malcolm. Yes – it was initial ‘J’. and Bonnington with a double ‘n’, but my spellcheck put a wavy line under it so I took out the second ‘n’.

It is a dreadful newspaper nowadays, in my opinion, and a waste of £2.50.

It’s all well and good suggesting that it is now acceptable to drive long distances for a day trip but what are people supposed to do if they require a toilet?!
I had initially thought yipee some trips out would be lovely. Upon further consideration I will not be going far.
It is too soon to be easing the restrictions other than perhaps returning to work if you can not work from home but only if your workplace can ensure your safety. Driving distances for pleasure/exercise will only encourage people to take unnecessary risks.

Good point, Jane. Come prepared, I suppose, is the answer.

There has been considerable concern about day trippers in the communities along the Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk coast. The Mayor of one Essex town pleaded with people to stay away because the shops were closed, the pubs were closed, there were no restaurants and cafés open, chippies, ice cream stalls and candyfloss booths were closed, the pier and the amusement arcades were shut, the council was not hiring out deckchairs, the car parks were fenced off, and the public toilets were locked out of use. Even local residents with a beach hut would find it difficult to stay for long and day trippers would just be a nuisance.

Those who have personal transport are obviously at an advantage. People reliant on public transport or a coach trip to go to the seaside for the day are out of luck. The advantaged ones should exercise their privileges with discretion and appreciate that to many communities, with sizeable elderly and vulnerable residents and fearful for their health, their indulgences are objectionable at a time like this.

A family of 11 were arrested and charged having come from Manchester to spend a day in North Wales. However, the feelings here are running high, and local residents all around N Wales are actively watching for and reporting unusual vehicles or activity in beauty spots, of which we have a fair number.

When Wales leaves the UK and rejoins the EU, folk like that will have to get past border controls before then can either be allowed into Wales or back into the Disunited Kingdom afterwards.

I’d leave them in Wales.

As you probably can tell from my nickname, I’m from East Kent.
I can’t agree more, as we live so close to London, we get inundated with Day trippers, a lot of whom obviously have never driven outside London, because their Driving activities give them away!
They suddenly have to cope with Thousands of 40 Tonne Artics, who the Locals are used to.
They and we would be safer if they stayed at Home at this time!

Michael O’Leary – Ryanair – is, presumably, an expert on COVID-19 and pandemic controls, with no vested interest in restoring general air travel. He tells us that the government’s response is idiotic, all we need to do in a crowded check-in and a packed plane is to wear masks , that we are allowing all French citizens unrestricted entry………. That’s alright then.

The problem is, such statements are repeated in his interview by the BBC without any discussion by other experts. Attempts to control the spread of the infection can be undermined by such irresponsible people when all we do is grab headlines.

Presumably the masks will be pre-booked at extra (breathtaking?) cost.

Like Mr Martin of Wetherspoon, who wanted to keep his pubs open during the lockdown, O’Leary will just have to do what he is told.

They both have more than a touch of the Blarney about them.

I was interested to read this morning that Ryanair has announced profits of just over €1bn (£894m) for the financial year to the end of March 2020 and that the company’s balance sheet was one of the strongest in the industry, with cash reserves of more than €4bn.
Good; refunds all round.

Another example of the Rich wanting more Money at the Cost to the rest of us. Oh doesn’t he live in Ireland?

And another Rich one. I see a pattern here.

Good he can give us our Money back!

Alan says:
18 May 2020

Have just renewed my insurance multicar policy. During the telephone conversation I asked for business use to be re-instated for the wife. Upon renewal they discounted the premium by £8. I decided it wasn`t worth removing. Hence the re-instatement. I was asked if she was employed, and explained she was between jobs and would not be starting in a new position until the Corona virus had “settled”. The response was since she is currently unemployed there would be an additional premium of £130! My wife would normally use her car to travel all over England to chair meetings for children in care. Unfortunately, there was no logical response when I asked why there would be an additional premium for the car to sit on our drive going nowhere; firstly due to being unemployed and secondly due to self isolation. Insurance companies are a law unto themselves!

Em says:
18 May 2020

You are right, but for a reason! Insurance companies are not selling products that have fixed costs. They provide protection from a range of financial losses as described in the policy, in exchange for a premium that varies according to perceived and estimated risks, and the known costs of a claim being made on the policy.

The premium is based on the claims experience of a pool of customers with similar profiles. Rightly or wrongly, policyholders classed as “unemployed” tend to make more claims, higher value claims and more fraudulent claims. This may be down to lifestyle, poor vehicle maintenance, or because they can ill afford to pay for even minor accidental damage to get their car back on the road. A policyholder with secure employment might prefer to cover some repairs from their own pocket to avoid losing their no-claims discount or increasing their premium at renewal.

Someone who is both unemployed and needing business cover is more likely to be involved in frequent, higher-risk car journeys, maybe delivering goods or visiting multiple locations on unfamiliar roads, possibly at night, since normal 9-to-5 working doesn’t apply.

I would suggest you insure your wife as “home-maker” or even “retired”, if she would qualify on age grounds and that is a true reflection of her current employment status. Once she is back in reputable work, it should not be too expensive to add on business cover again.

The confusion over the rules in different parts of the country is worrying. I’m listening to the traffic whizz past my front door in Northern Ireland. It’s definitely been busier this week even though the rules have not been relaxed as much here because the virus spread to here later.

My mum lent us her car at the start of lockdown and we’ve been using it to go to the bigger shops and to deliver stuff up to mum. It’s been so handy for getting bulk purchases – a novelty for us having been car free for the last couple of years!

I would suggest that it is more sensible for Northern Ireland to be aligned with policy in Eire on lockdown than with the remainder of the UK from which it is almost entirely self-contained.

I feel it is important that the two devolved governments on the mainland and the UK government [which can only make policy in this area for England] should harmonise their policies and would ideally have entered into a pact to ensure common, sensible and practical arrangements.

The UK government now seems to have opened up controversy within England over the return of schools with many urban areas in the north being at odds with the government’s pressure to get education going again by 1 June. This seems to be driven by sections of the media which are influenced, as ever, by the chattering classes.

You know it is serious when the DUP works with Sinn Fein to produce a plan that is more similar to the south than the rest of the UK. 😉

Our schools won’t be opening until September at least. I honestly don’t know where the case for schools opening is coming from. Certainly most people I know find the juggling act of homeschool tricky but no one is keen for the schools to start back yet.

I think the UK Government and their chosen advisors make great use of smoke and mirrors, to obscure major issues by stoking up controversy over minor ones.

Phil says:
20 May 2020

Much more traffic here in the home counties too, probably approaching normal levels.

The focus is getting the economy moving again by allowing mums and dads to return to work while elderly vulnerable grandparents are still advised to stay in quarantine at least until mid-June.

I think there are other factions who also set out to stoke up controversy.

I know it’s human nature. It is easier to criticise, particularly with the benefit of hindsight, but I do wish we’d see a more constructive aporach from all involved.

More negativity in the questions raised after tonight’s COVID-19 briefing. Just what is achieved?

I believe that what’s achieved is twofold: firstly, to hold the government to account and to do that publicly. and secondly, to question statements offered as fact by those who would prefer they could issue blithe statements without anyone asking if they’re true.

I watched Starmer and Johnson engage at lunchtime and Johnson’s evasiveness is disturbing.

Holding anyone to account requires properly supported and considered challenges rather than just opportunist comments. Unfortunately, many only pay attention to the latter.

We can have a properly evidenced inquest when the crisis is over if we wish but I doubt much would be achieved. If we do it should be to learn how to deal with any comparable problem should it arise in the future. I believe it is better, at this stage, to discuss proposals in a positive way that will advance our recovery.

My impression is that much criticism depends upon hindsight and selective argument, something we can all use to advantage.

The criticism about care homes seems to overlook that they are commercial enterprises whose operators should have taken responsible actions on their own initiatives, commensurate with their chosen field and clientelle. I presume, also, they were not forced to admit residents who were infected or had not been cleared of infection? I don’t know as I have no expertise in this field but have the critics?

I have no problem with constructive informed criticism and proposals.

Just a personal observation.

I’ve just noticed these comments are in the driving Convo. Maybe we should move elsewhere?

I suggest you listen to the recent File on 4 program about care homes, for which I provided a link yesterday. People were admitted into care homes without testing.

I strongly disagree with your suggestion that we should wait until after the event before trying to hold our prime minister accountable. Some people including me are concerned that his actions and failings have significantly increased the number of cases of Covid-19 in the UK. Other countries have coped better.

I agree that discussion should go elsewhere.

malcolm r says: 20 May 2020

Holding anyone to account requires properly supported and considered challenges rather than just opportunist comments.

I agree, but many of those who ask questions have carefully considered the questions and the supporting evidence. And those in government are practised masters of opportunism.

I believe it is better, at this stage, to discuss proposals in a positive way that will advance our recovery.

That sounds reasonable, until you realise the record of the government thus far has been little short of dismal. And that’s dismal in comparison not just with highly advanced first world countries but with places like India

Interestingly, on HIGMNFY it was pointed out the countries led by women as leaders have done significantly better with dealing with this crisis.

I find it curious that late last night my original comment had attracted a net balance of two thumbs up. Early this morning they had been wiped out. Two approvals then reappeared. Shortly after they, too, had been negated. All before commenters started to reappear.

Perish the thought that the thumbs system is being manipulated – but it does seem slightly suspicious. I suspect that thumb counts play very little part in the Convo particularly when a new page loses older comments from immediate view.

Beryl correctly said that I dislike the (current) thumbs system, as I believe does she. It seems quite wrong that when someone shows agreement with a comment their view can be effectively erased, as if they didn’t exist, by a dissenter.

Should we have thumbs at all? It has been long debated and Which? keep suggesting they will review it. I am in two minds but reverting to the separate thumb up and thumb down would at least not deprive anyone of their view being recorded. Can thumb manipulation (abuse) be stopped – if it exists? We’ve seen very strange volumes arrive quickly on occasions, as well as sudden reversals. I doubt it and if it is retained it will always be dependent upon contributors wishing to support proper debate and discourse.

I hope Which? do look at this again and poll contributors on their preferences.

This might even be an instance where what Facebook does is better than what Which? does.

Only logged in users can post thumbs there and their names are displayed for readers to see.

The black comedian inside me, maliciously suggests a competition to see who can write the comment that garners the most thumbs down. Alternatively the populist inside me suggest the opposite as a competition. Seriously, I agree completely with you Malcolm. I suppose Which? wanted -wants? – a method by which an unpopular comment can be slated and a popular one agreed with as an instant straw pole and an indication of who is thinking what out there. I’d be quite happy to get rid of the thumbs and make people actually write something useful. Maybe, also, Which? thinks that the ability to vote might widen the attraction of reading here. As things stand, a negative vote for one of my comments would probably make me shut up for a while and duck rather than argue back, especially as there would be nothing to argue against except someone’s disapproval. I would certainly wish to argue my case if someone commented on what I said and I still held the same view point. Of course, a negative comment might be quite justified and I would be wise to think about what has been said. Yes, let’s ditch the thumbs.

We need to remove the thumbs. They serve no useful purpose whatsoever.

Let’s just tick thumbs up for every comment.

This is an ongoing problem Malcolm which I agree needs addressing.

To disagree with a comment is entirely acceptable as it can add awareness, knowledge, understanding and interest to a debate, but to disagree by voting thumbs down without explanation, and perhaps even worse, by negating others thumbs up without clarification, could be regarded as a form of internet trolling as it achieves nothing but anger, annoyance and frustration and stifles any further progression, success or fulfilment to any serious discussion.

There is however, a form of internet trolling known as ‘Flame Trolling’ which is a form of trolling adherent to the posting of provocative or offensive messages known as “flame bait”, to a public internet discussion group, such as a forum, newsgroup or mailing list with the sole intent of provoking an angry response (a “flame”) or argument.

Negative manipulation of the thumbs up/down system, in my opinion, is a form of trolling by stealth and should be recognised as such, the only sensible solution would be to discontinue thumbs down and maintain the thumbs up, then everyone is happy – (except the troller) or should be 🙂

Hi all, let’s move the thumbs discussion over to the members area please: https://conversation.which.co.uk/which-membership/welcome-to-the-new-which-conversation/

It’s a subject that we’ve all discussed a number of times before and many explanations have been given. Jon is off this week but I will raise this with him again when he’s back for further attention.

I rang the small garage that I have used for years so see if they are open for MOTs and it was good to speak to a familiar voice. I will book in early next month. I don’t really understand why the six month exemption remains in place now that we can drive to a garage.

My Nissan main dealer is also operating for pre-booked service & MoT appointments.

Maybe servicing will include cobweb removal.

When I was in my 20s I was asked for help by a friend who had failed a breathalyser test and banned from driving. We managed to get his car started and taken to the garage for an MOT and all was well. The chap who did the test suspected it had not been used much recently because of the cobwebs.

Dave Stanley says:
24 May 2020

General comment – why have we to have light grey text on an off white background? What is wrong with black text that we do not have to strain our eyes to read please?

Hear! Hear! Dave – My back-lighting is set for comfortable reading and writing across all websites but Which? Conversation has always been a bit more difficult.

I hope you get an answer and some action.

I recently complained about the black text on a dark blue background on a Which? document I had downloaded and printed. Apart from the ridiculous amount of coloured ink that was being wasted it made reading [and therefore comprehending] it unnecessarily difficult. There was no response to my comment, from which I concluded that Which? was not terribly interested in making its material accessible to all.

Hi Dave. I presume that colours are chosen to help those who suffer from dyslexia.

The British Dyslexia Association give this and other advice:

:: Use sufficient contrast levels between background and text.

:: Use dark coloured text on a light (not white) background.


Although not stated, dyslexics can have problem with excessive contrast, hence the advice to use a light background rather than white.

Maybe someone from Which? could comment. The text looks black on my screen, particularly if enlarged.

Out of interest I zoomed into the text on Dave’s comment and he’s absolutely right: the text is light grey, and not black, which seems to be reserved for bold.

I do a lot of writing and use Scrivener, which produces perfectly black text on a pure white background. Because I read and write for several hours a day sometimes, I need the text to be jet black and not grey. Nothing on this site is pure white, ether: the text box is grey, the ‘white’ surround to the box is light grey and the sides are medium grey.

Generally, not very helpful to eyesight at all.

I don’t have a problem with the off-white background for reading the Conversation, but when composing a comment the text colour is very pale against a pale grey-blue background and does not give enough contrast, particularly for punctuation marks. Definition is adequate when the comment has been posted because then it is on an off-white background. I accept that colour resolution differs from screen to screen but the characteristics of shading and contrast remain the same.

That’s interesting. I see the word ‘says:’ in grey and also the number beside the thumbs, but nothing else remotely near light grey.

It would be interesting to know if this is down to hardware/software or individual perception.

I can compare what I’m seeing on all three of my main screens between Scrivener and W?Cs and it’s pretty well the same for each. My screens are 32″ displays and I keep the text nice and big to avoid eye strain.

I have posted a link to this discussion started by Dave here: https://conversation.which.co.uk/which-membership/welcome-to-the-new-which-conversation/#comment-1597420

We have been asked to discuss issues related to the website there and comments are monitored by the website developers.

I also find the grey on grey difficult. That said, here on Android, drafts appear black on grey.

I also don’t find the text here easy to read.

I just did a little experiment and copied the text to Paint.

Then I reproduced the text in pure black ink and looked at both together. The grey was easier to read!! I then tried a shade in between the two and that was even better.

How text looks is partly down to screen settings. Adjusting brightness and contrast might make text easier to read.

I would also suggest trying a shade of grey on here between the colour it is now and pure black.

I’ll see what happened to that comment John – from what I know it did get flagged up to the campaigns team which produced the report, however not sure we ever heard back on it. Leave this one with me

Hey all, I’ve picked this up in the Feedback area as per @wavechange‘s comment above: https://conversation.which.co.uk/which-membership/welcome-to-the-new-which-conversation/#comment-1597420

Keen to hear what you’d suggest colourwise if you did want to change this up (over there, not here, unless it’s to do with driving).

I don’t have much confidence in how our PM has handled certain aspects of the coronavirus crisis but have a great deal of sympathy with the difficult task of dealing with the action of Dominic Cummings driving a long distance during the lockdown. It’s a bit of a no win situation.

It would be interesting to see the better plans that were published when COVID-19 became seen as a real threat. What was seen as a priority was protecting the NHS from a large influx of patients and that has, so far, been successful.

The hypocrisy of the media.

Was he actually putting anyone else at risk?

What were 10-20 journalists doing outside his house? They were jostling for position running around all over the place so not social-distancing and more likely to risk spreading any infection than Dominic Cummings

The media are like a dog with a bone and will not let it rest until he is fired. The opposition and those who dislike him will get prime interview spots until he is gone.

Meanwhile they report stupid people flocking to the beaches having driven hundreds of miles with ‘Isn’t that nice to see people out enjoying themselves again’ smiles. No mention of risking a second wave and lockdown.


I agree, Alfa. Maybe we need the media to pursue some of the issues we discuss on Convo. Which? had discovered numerous problems that deserve to be pursued to a satisfactory conclusion.

We have no way of knowing just how important it was for DC to make the journey, but apparently he failed to self-isolate when showing symptoms of Covid-19, which if true does not demonstrate responsibility. In a prominent position, DC should surely have discussed his trip with colleagues, just like a child should ask mum before doing something that is forbidden for good reasons.

The government has had a very difficult job trying to persuade people not to congregate and spread the disease, which is obviously facilitated by car use. Maybe the message should have been not to drive unless there is a very good reason and then to stay local.

I tend to share Alfa’s view of the incident. It represents the intrusive nature of our media who seem to think they have the right to examine the daily lives of private people and kick up a stink over them if they put a foot wrong. People in glass houses . . .

Obviously, the PM’s top aide is not just an ordinary private citizen and has been deeply involved in framing the lockdown policy so should have stopped and counted to ten before setting off. The distance is irrelevant – he and his family were cocooned in a car and not likely to spread any infection. It happened to be Durham but it could have been Dulwich and no one would have made a fuss. It was a breach of the rules but, unlike the Scottish health chief who resigned over visiting her second home, it was not done for pleasure but for health and safety reasons. I have some sympathy for him – damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. I get really fed up with the self-righteous faux indignation emanating from the press and broadcasters [who daily disregard the rules when doorstepping politicians]

My only concern is that, reading between the lines, it seems quite clear that DC did not consult or inform BJ of his intention to travel. He should have done, but probably knew he would be advised against it. I hope he has had his wrist slapped behind the scenes but the best thing now would be to say no more and move on. Unfortunately I have a feeling that the story will not go away and it will continue to overshadow all the other, truly important, issues that require the government’s undivided attention.

Of course, if BoJo didn’t have a reputation for being a bit of a bozo the papers wouldn’t be looking for stories like this and paying sneaks to dig them up.

After all, we all know that good child care is only available in Durham and never in London, not even for VIP’s.

Available family was the issue here, as far as I know. Now the (some) bishops have become involved in the bandwagon. Given their history, on child abuse for example, I’m not sure of their credibility when it comes to trust and lying.

Once again a herd of journalists crowded around him in news pictures; what is more likely to spread infection? Should we sack them? I wouldn’t miss them.

Mind you the situation has been mishandled, as are many tricky political situations on all sides.

If we do lose people like the arrogant but seemingly very capable DC surely they can still give their wise counsel from behind the scenes?

I suppose when there is no other relevant inflammatory news – PIA crash, Hong Kong, Brexit negotiations, the economy – we just fill the gap with soap.

Stop press: I’ve just heard that the president of Austria was caught sitting outside a restaurant having finished his meal and paid his bill. It was just after the 11pm curfew. He must go! The three people he was with should be incarcerated. The restaurant should be shut down. We need to reinstate proportionate punishment.

Or was it really such a terrible transgression? He claimed to have lost track of time. Do we simply like to pick on such matters in a holier than though manner?

Actually, I think I differ. This story is the very reason we have a free press: to reveal what the wealthy and manipulative get up to when they’re espousing ‘rules’ for the rest of us.

Cummings (who will shortly be goings…) is widely reviled for behaving as though he is far more important than his position suggests. I note, also, that several of the leading members of the SAGE committee objected (some time ago) because he was not only making sure he was at every meeting, despite not being scientifically qualified in any way, and he was not merely listening, but very loudly attempting to get a supposedly independent committee to steer the government’s way.

The appalling behaviour of Johnson in forcing the Tory Whips to pressure Tory MPs to openly support Cummings was also a huge error.

And lest anyone forget, Cummings was also the director of Vote Leave, and his entire career has been spent working for Tory politicians without ever taking the risk of standing for election himself. His style has been abusive, loud and unpleasant. I would post links but there are simply too many detailing his arrogant dismissals of those who seek to disagree with him.

I also don’t believe Cummings was in any way, shape or form a ‘private individual’. His history reveals someone who craves power and thus change for the whole of our society, yet clearly wants to avoid the trifling inconvenience of standing for Parliament.

He is a right-wing ideologist, with some fairly extreme ideas (look at his publications) and while I can agree in some ways with the distaste for our media, this is a time when they are most needed.

We need to remember the government has enacted legislation with fairly tough penalties for those who choose to exempt themselves for whatever strictures are deemed necessary. When powerful individuals at the top of the power structure choose to behave as though rules don’t apply to them then I believe they have to suffer serious consequences.

This is an account the sorts of things Cummings does

Furthermore, given the daily briefings that are held, to clarify and reinforce current public health rules and guidance, how come the rules had to be retrospectively clarified this weekend?

Should that not have been done at the end of March?

Presumably the authorities have known all about this since then?

https://conversation.which.co.uk/motoring/driving-coronavirus-lockdown-rules-uk/#comment-1597439. “ Actually, I think I differ. “.

Well, of course you can. That is one of the purposes of a discussion, to air differing views.

I think some like to take any opportunity to pick on a prominent person, sometimes with justification but not always. We say we don’t like someone but rarely do we know them; we tend to rely on the opinion of others and reported stories. These may or may not give a fair picture. I have formed impressions of people in life and then, when I’ve got to know them better or when the chips are down in a particular situation, see them differently.

We are all frail in some ways. The danger that I see is when we pick on an instance and bay for blood – and maybe get it – we may well be chucking away all the positive contributions, expertise, innovation that could have been of value, for a bit of instant gratification.

Would we were all as perfect as we might like to think.

Perhaps. but most of us wouldn’t have stood as an MP or become involved with politics at such a high level or garnered as many enemies as this person seems to have.

And the point that Vynor made is crucial: “He is an unelected power at number ten, and unaccountable to the electorate.”

Of course we rely on sources for our impression of anyone in the public eye, but this person has attempted to avoid pubic scrutiny and yet still works theoretically for the public.

Put another way, he’s being paid from taxpayers’ money, and I see no reason why he shouldn’t submit to the scrutiny afforded all MPs. And Private Eye is none too impressed, either.

I’m also unsure what positive contributions, expertise and innovations he’s pioneered…

Let’s not forget there are two major players in this symbiotic relationship and this could be regarded as a good time to hide bad news. The media hype is most probably, unintentionally, fulfilling a role by focusing its mass attention on a convivial but organised scapegoating, being used as a cover-up for the mishandling of the Covid-19 outbreak and the tragic loss of so many lives.

A symbiotic relationship is similar to a co-dependency one, the difference being, with the first both feed off each other in order to survive, with the second, one
feels obliged to put the needs of the other before their own as they are quite unable to function on their own. Co-dependency can occur in any type of relationship, including family, work, friendship, peer or political and community relationships.

Lord John-Dalberg Acton’s famous statement
“Power tends to corrupt – Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” is a consequence of when elected ministers and their unelected advisers decide to take the law into their own hands, but whatever the outcome of this latest scandal, let us hope some semblance of normalcy will prevail and Mr. Cummings will examine his own conscience by realising he has overstepped the mark on this occasion and he will do the decent thing and resign.

Sometimes, because of the position people hold, even when they are in the right [technically and legalistically in their opinion] they should instinctively know that something is the wrong thing to do. The lack of judgment combined with arrogance is why the population are so disgruntled.

It is indeed a sad day when it is argued that in order to have an honourable body politic we have to have a cut-throat press pack. Each begets the other.

It’s a classic symbiotic relationship John. Boris needs Dominic as much as Dominic obviously needs Boris. The legitimately elected one needs to hold on to the top job but is unable to do so without the unelected other who needs the legitimately elected one just as much in order to exercise his unelected top job power.

As dangerous political combination as both have each other’s interest at heart at the expense of the country’s electorate.

The more I read and see Mr Cummings, the less I like him. His record of rude belligerence goes back over many years. He is an unelected power at number ten, and unaccountable to the electorate. He may well have a malign influence which means that it is not easy to disagree with him, who ever you might be. As a subterranean figure with little public profile or exposure he comes across as someone to be suspicious of. Regarding this current debacle, his background has made him a target for those who seek revenge for past wrongs. Boris, yesterday, simply said to the public, “You know what happened, it wasn’t wrong, now go away and stop pestering me about it.” This is not the best way to deal with the many questions now unanswered. If, it turned out that all the alleged sightings were correct then the whole issue would turn into a gigantic row, leading to the collapse of the current government, since lies would have been told. Whether police will have time and energy to go through CCTV footage is not clear, so we may never have an answer to the truth. Maybe that’s what others think too, or maybe these allegations are just speculation and shouldn’t have been put about. In the end, the public like to know what is going on, the press like a conspiracy and we really need to concentrate on the virus and not Dominic. It would be good to have all the facts, though the moral dilemma of family needing support for the child is one that is debatable and the government want us to debate this without being able to form any conclusion. That is their defence. It’s not the most glorious day for this government and people will remember it long after this has gone away.

I think the immediate cause of the current interest is that our supreme leader has been revealed to be cheating and lying once again.

But the root cause is that cheating and lying seems to be in his DNA.

So the news conference was disciplined and the tone quiet and calm in spite of the questioning which didn’t impress me. I believe that there was only one visit up North and apart from the trip to Barnard Castle, everything he said was beyond reproach factually. One tit bit that did get through was Mr Cumming’s work as an advisor in number ten. He, it seems, fields much of the information coming into the place and decides what to discuss and present to the Prime Minister. That is quite some power to wield, especially if he can decide issues without scrutiny, with the Prime Minister informed on a need to know basis.
Yes, there was a moral dilemma for him, and yes he has garnered quite a bit of animosity which is currently surrounding his house and made him want to move out. The train of thought was logical and well presented to the press this afternoon and we are left with the morality of it to consider rather than the substance of what went on. Time will tell if this human tale is enough to soften the opposition. Many are still angry, but the anger is now not so much factual, more an outrage about interpretation of what is right. That, of course, is itself open to interpretation and I’m sure number ten hopes that clouds the issue enough to move on.

It would not have occurred to me to drive a car if I had any concerns about my eyesight. Maybe the guy needs first aide.

I had a break from gardening to come in for a cuppa and found the press conference was due to start, so watched it. Some (many) with preconceptions had , no doubt, already made up their minds based on media publicity. What I found disconcerting, but perhaps summed up the media attitude, was that immediately before the press conference was due to start the BBC had quite a long debate about Dominic Cummings that was largely negative; why not have the courtesy to await the statement?

Assuming DC was truthful – those who think otherwise should produce evidence – I consider his actions were totally understandable to seek help for his wife and child in a responsible way. In practice the distance he had to travel was irrelevant if he made no contact with anyone. His stay involved no contact. Testing your ability to drive after illness seems sensible before undertaking a long journey. The misleading reporting includes a visit “to a beauty spot, Barnard Castle”. I presume the press did not make clear that it is also a town, where he stopped on the outskirts and did not visit any castle.

The questioning after the explanation seemed to be a competition to see who could impress their editor most. A comparison with having a holiday home was unwarranted and the suggestion that, because many people could not use a spare dwelling, he should not take advantage when it is on the family farm simply smacks of some ideology. Laura Kuenssberg exhibited her usual negative biased views that I do not think should be part of balanced reporting. Etc.

The suggestion that DC’s action will have caused many others to ignore precautions and will cause a large increase in deaths could only come about by the way the press have pursued this without proper knowledge. They will bear a responsibility for what would appear to be a politically motivated and unpleasant witch hunt. I’m totally in favour of factual and properly researched reporting and holding people to account. I’ll change mg view if, and when, I find what was related was untrue.

Meanwhile, is anyone pursuing the press who surrounded him by his car, unprotected, shoulder to shoulder? They are infinitely more likely to have passed on the infection than the action DC took.

The suggestion that DC’s action will have caused many others to ignore precautions and will cause a large increase in deaths could only come about by the way the press have pursued this without proper knowledge.

That gave me a good chuckle. On a more serious side, this man is at the very heart of government, was reportedly responsible for the initial Herd Immunity advice, has worked his way into a position of enormous power but remains unaccountable and now, doesn’t even have the decency to do the right thing and resign.

Of course this will prompt others into disobeying the law, unless some consider that it ought to have been kept under wraps so no one would know.

We have a free press in this country and, much as we may deplore some of the antics the grubbier tabloids have engaged in over the years, this episode has proved exactly how much a free press is needed. This is not about spreading infection, either; this is about someone at the top of government who believes themselves to be utterly unaccountable to anyone, who believes they can do what they want, ignore whatever rules they want and in short behave exactly as they want without fear of recrimination.

Of course, the ultra right wing will swing behind him, because they have always believed in a system that enables the powerful at the expense of the majority.

Finally, no matter how this is viewed it beggars belief that if only one parent was ill the other could not look after the child, and, if both were fill, they should, surely not have driven to Durham from London, fill up with fuel, take a day out at Barnard castle “to test his eyesight???” or driven at all, since driving whilst ill or impaired is an offence.

From another forum:

“If he and she were ill on the Friday evening with concerns about covid would the answer not have been to follow national advice and phone the NHS helpline?

iIwas some time from his supposed return to date – if he felt so righteous about his trip why was it not made public?

If he felt the media attacks over the weekend were not valid, why did he wait so long to respond?

If he didn’t discuss this with Bojo till yesterday was no-one concerned about his disappearance last month for more than the odd day?

He is still not sure about stopping at all on his journey there – 250 miles with a 4 year old – does he think we are all unaware of the likely needs?

And of course he drove to Durham, and the hospital and Barnard Castle and back to Durham and back to london and THOUGHT he may have stopped for fuel…

Sorry; I don’t think any of his rabbiting rings true.”

We often speak of a free press, and long may that be the case. What we do not have, and maybe never have had but much less so now, is one that is generally concerned with uncovering the whole truth. Many seem to lack the ability to investigate properly but, probably more important, want to grab a headline in the shortest possible time and hope for the best. By then any damage is done.

What continues to disappoint me is that what should be a bastion of fair, balanced, unbiased and considered reporting – the BBC – fails miserably to fulfil this job. Once the public has been mislead it is difficult to undo the damage. Government should act more pragmatically and swiftly to counter this.

I consider the DC case to have been blown out of all proportion, deliberately to cause mischief, but mishandled in its defence.

If the death rate increases significantly we can no doubt blame him. But what on earth can we do if it continues to decline?

Those who’ve set safety rules should practise as they’ve preached and follow them.

Exacly what part of “stay home” did DC not understand?

But that is still conflating two issues: potential effects of breaching the regulations and how those at the top of government are expected to behave.

This is not about the first: so excess deaths or even a mortality reduction may be considered irrelevant in this context. This is entirely about the second.

Putting it in a setting easier to understand, perhaps, how does a father teach his sons that it’s wrong to bully people and who then goes out and does exactly that?

I suspect we’re also dealing with truth. The White House has set new standards for how inconvenient questions from journalists should be answered. “Charlie Beckett, a professor of media and communications at the London School of Economics, said while Johnson had not fully adopted the extreme attitudes towards the media of the US president, Donald Trump, “he and his Downing Street team are certainly picking up on the details of the current White House approach” of muddying the waters where possible.

“For example, attacking the fact-based revelations in the Mirror and the Guardian as ‘inaccurate’ (in what way? tell us!) and as ‘campaigning’ journalism (implying it is partisan and discountable). It is similar to Trump’s cry of ‘fake news’ about any hostile coverage. By attacking the motive of the accuser you avoid addressing the actual charge.””

And those that say in “what should be a bastion of fair, balanced, unbiased and considered reporting – the BBC – fails miserably to fulfil this job” often fail to detail examples of where they believe the BBC has failed so miserably.

In fact, the BBC is regularly attacked by both left and right, so if it is biased one has to wonder towards whom?

Malcolm wrote: “If the death rate increases significantly we can no doubt blame him. But what on earth can we do if it continues to decline?” That’s a bit misleading. Death rates are declining elsewhere too, but responsible behaviour will make the process faster and hopefully save lives.

I don’t see what selectively quoting from another forum adds to a Which? Convo.

Maybe we should have an independent investigation by fair-minded people with no axes to grind – if that would be a good use of effort.

Maybe, more importantly, we should have an unbiased appraisal of Dominic Cummings’ contributions over the years to see if he is worth keeping in the administration. We frequently seem to throw the baby out with the bath water, sometimes out of spite. We are then the losers. Let us see whether he is of use to us before we use this episode to, for some, exact revenge. He is not popular in some quarters but such is the fate of people trying to accomplish change in what some see as an outdated government and civil service organisation.

Wavechange, I had my tongue a little in my cheek but this is what the antagonists implied would be the result – the serious implication of his action.

I had not appreciated that. One way of showing that a comment is tongue in cheek is to include a smiley.

I don’t see what selectively quoting from another forum adds to a Which? Convo.

I think it serves to show the strength of feeling around this particular issue. Interestingly, the Daily Mail, the bastion of Conservative morality, is also calling for Cummings’ resignation.

Are you blaming our proportionate deaths on Dominic Cummings? Sweden seems to be similar.

The heading to the graphic does contain a bit of a disclaimer. It is important to know that we are comparing like-for-like and the accuracy of the supporting data.

Are you blaming our proportionate deaths on Dominic Cummings?

I shall assume that was another tongue in cheek comment.

That is deaths per million of population. It’s seen as one of the better comparators.

I’m aware of that but it was only partly tic. The suggestion that his action will have a significant impact upon deaths would be, probably, impossible to establish. although while the deaths are declining any significant blip could be ascribed to it. In my mind, an easy accusation to make but difficult to prove.

Thinking about the tongue in cheek comment, however, I suppose it could be argued that if he is the chief adviser to the government then his advice could be at least partly considered the determinant of the success or otherwise of the Government’s overall strategy in dealing with the crisis. Interesting point.

If some want to find reasons to try to discredit an individual then maybe. If we want to pursue this then I would suggest we should be looking at supporting evidence.

I’d prefer to concentrate effort on keeping the disease under control and monitoring the changes being introduced to ensure, hopefully, that we do not see a significant increase as lock down is relaxed.

“breaching the regulations”
According to what was said yesterday he did not breach the regulations and, for those who followed the press conference, said why.

However, if someone can show that what was stated was untrue then it should be published. I believe the gov/nhs regulations at the time were cited.

I had assumed the government’s stressing of


repeatedly at the start of the outbreak and the repeated fining of those who chose not to do that was fairly specific.

That, of course, is the core of the issue.

And it’s also fascinating that he gave, as his reason for a 60-mile round trip to Barnard Castle, the need to check his eyesight. Do you, as a driver of several vehicles, for example, feel that if one feels one’s eyesight is failing or deficient the correct approach to the problem is to take a 60 mile drive?

Even if it were judged here that DC did not actually breach the letter of the regulations, I still think he certainly breached the spirit of them, which in itself is not acceptable behaviour from a member of a Government that is trying to enforce the regulations.

The whole attitude of both BJ and DC to these revelations just stinks. I think it fails to display the quality of leadership thhat the UK needs right now.

A similar failure of leadership prevails within Currys PC World, when its leaders assure Which? that they won’t try to force the sale of USB recovery sticks onto PC buyers and yet we still see a succession of buyers reporting that the practice is still widespread.

I don’t believe that anyone has condoned what the journalists did, Malcolm. Without question they were breaking the very clear rules and should be punished. Reporting that in the press might convey a useful message to the public. We have now seen the resignation of Douglas Ross.

“Breach of regulations” was stated. DC referred to the regulation that he had considered when making his decision. So let’s see that regulation to determine whether or not it was breached.

Why are we reticent about disciplining, or publicly advising, the gaggle of journalists who totally disregarded social distancing when surrounding DC. Shouting is also likely to transmit more virus particles. Perhaps because we are more concerned with the man than with preventing spread of the disease, something he appears to have been careful not to do.

Careful not to do…
Driving a few hundred miles could be considered by some to be anything but careful, if not downright dangerous and deceitful.

And of course the behaviour of some journalists is reprehensible. No one’s arguing about that. But they could also be viewed as heroes in their own right, risking their own personal safety in order to expose flagrant breaches of instructions of the government. Remember, it was DC who claimed to be infected, so the journalists were the ones at most risk. And without the work of those same journalists we’d probably still be ignorant of his duplicity and arrogance.

I hope you won’t mind me repeating a question you might have missed but do you, as a driver of several vehicles, for example, feel that if one feels one’s eyesight is failing or deficient the correct approach to the problem is to take a 60 mile drive?

How many vehicles I have has absolutely no relevance to this discussion. Nor is attempting to suggest DC put the journalists at risk; they should have had the common sense to keep at an appropriate distance.

I do hope someone will provide true information; such as publishing the government/nhs regulation that DC claimed he used to make his decision. I’m simply looking for facts. I’m not concerned with perceptions until they become confirmed or seen as misconceptions.

I do not like to see people’s careers destroyed by focusing on what may be, or not, a simple case of the application of common sense that can be disagreed with. I think it is a vindictive way to treat anyone and not worthy of a decent society.

However we can go round and round the houses on this and we’ll get nowhere. No doubt fate will take its course.

I’m also looking for facts, which is why I asked for your opinion on my question. I’d be very grateful if you could answer it, if for no other reason than it goes to the root of this current situation: do you feel that if one feels one’s eyesight is failing or deficient the correct approach to the problem is to take a 60 mile drive?

It seems rather strange that 4 approvals have been wiped out in a matter of minutes? Genuine or misuse? I do hope Which? look at thumbs. I’m quite happy for approvals and disapprovals to be shown side by side, if that is the general wish. But, I’d still hope the disapproval is accompanied by an appropriate comment.

I believe they should be abolished. There’s far too much danger of them skewing debates.

Back on track, however, the reason I mentioned you as a driver of several vehicles was not to make any point other than you’re an experienced driver. Which is exactly why I would also welcome your input on the question of whether you believe the best course of action for someone whose eyesight may be deteriorating rapidly is to go for a long drive.

In the rose garden, when asked about the trip to BC, DC said he needed to test his eyesight.

I’d suggest we either park this conversation or move it into the Lobby, gentlemen, as this is starting to veer off topic into a discussion of eyesight tests than of driving. If you’d like to carry on in the Lobby in a respectful manner, please do, and I’ll move / link accordingly.

The issue with the thumbs I’ll address separately in the website feedback area.

Perhaps you could move the entire sub-topic into the Lobby for us, Jon?

Jon – I am in favour of parking it and moving on, please.

+1 from me. Have we something we can agree on?

I do hope so.

Mr Cummings may, or may not be responsible for the crowded beaches yesterday. If in a few days time the hospitals begin to get crowded with new cases, I hope it can be made quite clear why and those sunbathers can see that what they did has consequences. I hope, fervently hope, that the sea breezes carried the virus with them and those on the beach have got away with it. Time will tell.

I do not think it is fair to blame the recent nice weather and the crowded beaches on DC.

I’d say the immediate cause was cabin fever, caused by many weeks of lockdown, especially for those who have been following the rules.

If anyone is now to blame for making light of the lockdown rules, I’d say it was all our Government Ministers who have supported the case for interpreting the guidelines as one sees fit.

The performance of most ministers during the daily briefing has been lamentable. While appreciating this is a very difficult time, it’s also exactly the reason they’re in post—to provide leadership for the country during an almost unique period.

My knee-jerk reaction to the present political imbroglio, which I have perceived as an over-zealous and ill judged attempt to return to normality in a blundering rush, was for people to repay the government’s disdain for public opinion in a passive but effective way.

I am hoping that the population will not be tempted to go out too soon, to start shopping again, to go back to work or to school, and to get back on the buses, trains and the Underground again. That would probably harm the economy but I cannot think of any other form of civil resistance that can be exercised to show the government that we don’t think its judgment on safety has been right, that the delays in treating the outbreak seriously in the first place must be matched by a much more gradual return to normal life than it is seeking, and that it certainly is not all over. The virus is still out there, people are still getting Covid-19, and some are still dying or facing a long and difficult period of recovery. Until the government shows a bit more respect the public should hesitate before cooperating. Unfortunately No.10 is being driven by right-wing elements in the media and parliament who have sought to minimise the seriousness of the epidemic, think we can unshackle the lockdown immediately and get back to the good life again with as little disturbance as possible.

We have had barely two months of disruption so far. This country must be in a terrible state if that is becoming intolerable, but that is how it appears. Is intolerance contagious? It looks like it – people are in a group-moan about the restrictions, doing desperate and stupid things to get round the rules, and more worried about when they can get their hair cut or have their cleaner round again than about the safety of their family, friends and everyone else.

I suppose we’re social animals and deprived of the herd we start to feel restless and angry.

Yes, Ian – that’s the usual excuse but I am not sure it’s satisfactory.

People are unhappy not going to work – but what do people do all the time at work? Complain about it!

Earlier this year many people’s homes were devastated by extreme flooding and some lost their lives; during the coronavirus epidemic nearly forty thousand people have died so far, many more have been hospitalised or quarantined, families throughout the land have had their lives put on hold or turned upside down. We are noted for our ability to cope with such difficulties [not without pain and anguish] and rise above them.

The recent messages from government to England residents have been wrong and their reprehensible lack of clarity has given rise to a sense of denial or disobedience which could be gravely irresponsible by undermining collective resilience.

I wonder what proportion of the population possess common sense. I wonder if anyone has ever investigated. I think I have it and I’m happy to read advice, digest information, try to determine what is false or poor and interpret it to guide the way I behave. I don’t expect, or want, a government to dictate every last detail. We need to think for ourselves.

In all my experience when venturing out I have seen this common sense exhibited by others; crossing the road to avoid proximity, opening gates with elbows, wearing masks and gloves where appropriate, using social distancing in shops and fuel stations……. Perhaps I’m just lucky where I have been. Scenes on beaches do show the opposite. Are these people who don’t listen to news, or simply don’t care? If the latter it doesn’t matter what regulations are set down, they will still ignore them

The next few weeks will be interesting.

Common sense is optional but following rules intended for the benefit of everyone is not.

Our council has helped by widening footpaths to make it easier for people to keep away from others while passing.

Most people round here are following the rules but the sunshine has meant more people walking, running and cycling. Even under normal circumstances I try to avoid being out walking in hot sunny weather, so I cannot be sure how many ignore distancing when it is busier. I stay in the house/garden and venture out in the evening, so when it is cooler and quieter.

As an MOT tester, I am now catching up with vehicles not used much or at all during the recent major lockdown, especially after the extension for MOT tests. we find that leaving vehicles inactive for long periods of time can have just as many issues, if not more sometimes when it is presented for an MOT. My advice would be to take your car out a couple, or at least once a week, even if its just down the road and back or round the block. Even if you can`t take it out for a drive, at least start once or twice for 30 minutes just to at least warm the engine up and keep the battery topped up, or ask a family member to do it for you.

We have 4 cars and drivers, but only one has to travel to work. We just swap cars around for the main weekly supermarket run, but even then the battery on one appears to be going home.
I also am now regularly driving a 30mile round trip to prepare a relative’s house for sale (permitted), which is to pay back a DPA (local authority loan) for nursing home fees, (a legal obligation, which is also permitted). As in the case of your Which article, I rarely see these listed as reasonable excuses.
As for traffic, there seems to be about twice as much as in the first lockdown at any time of the day. As for drivers, most seem sensible, but that is regularly punctuated by a speeding idiot.

This may have been asked but cannot find a thread. Any advice thoughts would be appreciated. I approached both my car lease company and my insurer about a reduction in cost as I am only doing 25% of the miles in my car as anticipated due to Covid19 restrictions and both said that they could not and would not give me any payment relief due to this reduced mileage. Am I being unreasonable to ask and expect help for this? With the massively national mileage reduction, I expect the insurers to have saved massively on claims and the lease companies getting very low mileage cars at the end of the lease term. Am I being to simplistic here?

David, those sound like good challenges in principle.

That said, my guess is that your car lease contract does not come with a mechanism for reducing your monthly costs if your mileage goes down.

Likewise insurance policies may allow unlimited mileage or can be mileage limited, but probably contain no basis for refunds from unexpected low usage.

Having processed an insurance claim during lockdown, I expect the insurance companies may have saved money on their claims volume, but will also have had to deal with the one-off costs of setting their staff up for homeworking. So they might readily claim to have increased overhead costs to offset.

Having had to replace my car, I can also report that lower than average mileage does add a bit to the selling price of a used car.