The Daily Telegraph reveals that the Labour govenment has ditched plans to introduce a "pay-as-you-go" pricing scheme for UK motorists. The move comes after an on-line petition against so-called road pricing (a.k.a. "Electronic Road Pricing" or ERP) garnered an unprecedented 1.8m signatures. The Telegraph, which lead a journalistic campaign to strangle the idea in its metaphorical, non-MTV crib, predicts that the Department for Transport will officially signal a shift from national road pricing to local schemes (a la London's Congestion Charge) in a statement to Parliament next week, as follows: "We agree that there are congestion problems on parts of the strategic road network, but 88 per cent of congestion is in urban areas. Therefore it is sensible to prioritise the assessment of road pricing in these areas." Reading between the lines, the government has left the door open to local or country officials seeking to introduce ERP schemes on national or trunk roads within their territory. In other words, the battleground has now shifted to Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle. Watch this space (and we're not charging you for it either).
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