Fleet News

Urban road pricing legislation means a geographical lottery

FLEETS face a geographical lottery over urban road pricing after the white paper left it up to local councils to decide whether to implement road pricing. Legislation is to be introduced to allow local authorities to charge road users to reduce congestion, as part of a package of measures in a local transport plan that would include improving public transport.

Reducing traffic mileage and congestion will cut emissions and bring significant improvements in air quality, reducing noise and benefiting pedestrians, cyclists and public transport, the white paper said.

The Government has said it will issue a consultation document for how road-user charging schemes should operate and deal with different ways of implementing charges, although it has given no firm date for publication. But cities and towns throughout the country are at different stages of development with traffic programmes and even the most advanced face a wait of two to three years before they would be ready to go, according to the Local Government Association.

It says the Government's gift of road pricing to local authorities carried an element of the 'poisoned chalice' as it will be a politically sensitive issue in some areas. Motor industry leaders have already said they felt the Government was distancing itself from road-pricing moves if anything went wrong.

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