Andrew Whybrow, head of charging and the local transport division at the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, told delegates that local authorities would be left to decide whether to launch schemes. Road user charges would be likely to be paper-based permits to enter an area or for simply crossing a line and would be payable by the registered keeper of the vehicle.
However, he added, to help the daily rental industry, where the vehicle was hired, it would be the hirer who would have to pay the fine. But Colin Tourick, managing director of Newcourt Automotive Services, said: 'I am horrified at the prospect of hundreds of systems being in use for different areas.' In response Whybrow said efforts were being made to avoid too many schemes and that if electronic charging was introduced the Government would insist on common systems being used.