Planes Trains & automobiles: Jams begin as rain stops play

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The Independent Online
Thousands of motorists and their families deserted the beaches and set off for home early last night as the cooler, wet weather over the Bank Holiday weekend made for a more peaceful time on the roads.

The busiest time on most routes was in the early evening between 5pm and 6.30pm. Traffic was particularly heavy in the North East of England and West Yorkshire. There were traffic jams on the A1/M and one road in West Yorkshire was blocked due to flooding. However, no serious delays were reported. A spokesman for AA Roadwatch said it was one of the quietest August Bank Holidays for some years.

"I think a lot of people have stayed at home this year, knowing the weather might not be good," he said.

"We've had quite a quiet weekend compared to what it's usually like. What we haven't had is the sunshine which often brings out the boy-racer in people."

Showers washed most of the country yesterday and lingered into the night in western regions where hill fog and mist later formed, bringing an autumnal feel to the weather.

But the changeable conditions did not dampen spirits at London's biggest street party of the year - the Notting Hill Carnival. As many as 1.5 million people attended the three-day event. Once again, the carnival passed off safely, with only a handful of arrests for minor offences.

At the height of the carnival yesterday a Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "We believe there are about 400,000 people here ... but we are expecting more. The mood is very positive and we are pleased with the way things are going."

Nearly 7,000 police officers were on duty over the weekend to police the event.