A good day for hedgehogs on deserted highways

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The Independent Online

Rush-hour traffic virtually disappeared yesterday during a two-hour breakfast spell in which millions of people watched England's last World Cup group match.

Rush-hour traffic virtually disappeared yesterday during a two-hour breakfast spell in which millions of people watched England's last World Cup group match.

The early kick-off cleared the roads – motoring organisations reported an unusual trouble-free morning on the motorway network.

The RAC said that, at one point during the day, there were as few as three points of congestion in England and Wales. On a normal day there are up to 130.

Two smaller rush hours evolved before and after the game but there were still only 25 per cent of the amount of hold-ups normally seen in a morning, according to the RAC.

"We not only saw two separate morning rush hours but they were separated by 90 minutes when even a hedgehog could have crossed any major road in England in relative safety," said a spokesman.

An estimated 25,000 pubs and bars opened early for the game and even many businesses accommodated their workers by laying on breakfast and televisions. The Stock Exchange reported trading down 11 per cent during the early part of the morning compared with normal levels.

However, not everyone was quite as happy with the day's events. Two road cleaners for Wandsworth council in south-west London were suspended from duty after allegedly taking time off work to watch the game in a pub.

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