Fleet News

Drivers must bear cost of traffic-related illness

DRIVERS must be forced to pay higher fuel prices in order to meet the £11 billion cost of illness and premature death caused by traffic-related air pollution, according to the British Lung Foundation. It says a substantial increase in duty on petrol and diesel would be the most effective immediate way of dealing with the problem.

In its new report 'Transport and Pollution - the Health Costs', the Foundation said the reintroduction of a car sales tax - the 10% special car sales tax was scrapped by the Conservative Government - or an increase in vehicle excise duty would not deter drivers from using their cars, although varying VED rates according to engine size could have an impact on pollution.

The report's author Professor David Pearce, of the Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment, calculates that suffering, illness and premature death attributed to road traffic-related air pollution costs more than £11 billion a year. It also estimates that the overall bill for road transport - taking into account the cost of pollution, congestion, accidents, road damage and global warming - stands at between £45.9 billion and £52.9 billion, with road users only paying a third of these costs.

Pearce said: 'A charge related to fuel consumption would appear to be the most appropriate way of making drivers pay the price of pollution. Permanent changes in fuel prices may have a significant effect in the long term.'

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