14 April 2005

The push towards mass-road tolling has been stepped up with both a leading government advisor and the Highways Agency calling for widespread congestion charges. The calls come after Autocar revealed the extent of national tolling plans.

Professor David Begg, on his last day as chief of the Commission for Integrated Transport, said that motorists should pay to drive on every road inside the M25. Begg envisaged a satellite-controlled system and variable charging, depending on the road and time of day. Tax discs would be scrapped for vehicles inside the M25. As a ‘sweetener’, he said the money raised could be used to halve council tax and reduce business tax.

Meanwhile, the Highways Agency warned that tolling could come to the south east of England as a consequence of the government’s drive to build new houses in the area.

Perversely, a House of Commons inquiry attacked plans to build a new M6 toll between the Midlands and Manchester. The Transport Select Committee claimed that there was ‘no evidence’ that the current M6 toll road was a success.

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