Britain’s motorways must be privatised to allow for a reduction in fuel duty tax.
That is the view of the chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee Tim Yeo.
Yeo, a former shadow environment and transport minister, has warned prime minister David Cameron that in order to meet his pledges on the environment, he must begin privatising the roads, as well as introducing wholesale road taxing.
Tory MP Yeo also claimed that the funds created by privatising the motorway network would allow for a reduction in fuel duty tax, benefiting those who use the roads less.
He added that the London congestion charge scheme, which is currently one of only a handful of road pricing plans operating in the country, is “crude and unimaginative”.
By contrast, Yeo said the M6 toll relief road around Birmingham had proven extremely popular with motorists, helping to ease motorway congestion.
He also encouraged Cameron to introduce a plan to allocate personal carbon credits to each motorist in Britain. When a person’s allocation is used up, they would then have to “buy” more credits from other motorists.
As part of a recent poll, the AA asked its members whether they would support parts of the British motorway network being sold off to be managed by private firms.
Almost seven in 10 of AA members said they would not oppose the idea, but many also felt that the maintenance of the sold off motorway sections should be paid for by the government, and not by the introduction of toll charges.
Paul Watters, the AA’s head of roads policy, said: “Although the poll shows some sympathy with the plight of the public finances and need for solutions to fix them, it is hardly surprising that drivers don’t want to pay twice for the roads that they regard as having already been paid for over the years through their fuel duty and road tax”.