UK Abandons National Road Pricing Plans

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

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).

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • Virtual Insanity Virtual Insanity on Oct 15, 2007

    Question then... Thoughts on the same happening (assuming we could actually get moved to do something for once) if the USG proposes a gas tax?

  • Dave Dave on Oct 15, 2007

    RF, your last comment said it, the battleground shifts from national to local government - and they will charge with a vengence. Basically here in the UK, all levels of govt are always searching for new ways to get my money. Interesting isn't it - when all commercial enterprises (even the big 2.8) are trying to either lower prices or offer more, govt just takes more. I suspect the real reason that the national govt has backed off and given it to local govt is the voters will remember come election time, and the national pols don't give a hoot about the local guys - oh yes, the money from national to local govt for roads will be reduced as "local authorities have the means of funding local priorities". Also remember that Gorden Brown has just become PM after 10 years of waiting and he ain't going to do anything to risk not winning his own election, whenever he decides to call it.