Fleet News

Scotland to tackle congestion with tolls

THE new Scottish Executive is to introduce road tolls and workplace parking levies to combat congestion and raise cash to fund transport alternatives to the car. In recognition of the worsening congestion problem in Scotland's towns and cities, the executive, just weeks after taking power, has spotlighted transport as a prime target for action.

It has published a consultation paper, 'Tackling congestion', on how it proposes to solve the problem, but while the executive stresses it is not 'anti-car', it makes it clear, in the same way as the UK Government's own integrated white paper on transport has, that it will be the motorist who will pay for the solution. The Scottish Executive has already shown its approval of road tolling, having agreed to allow a stretch of motorway between Edinburgh and Glasgow to be the subject of a pilot study on tolls, due to start at the end of 2000.

Launching the paper at a conference, 'Transport priorities for a new Scottish Parliament', at the Robert Gordon University's Centre for Transport Policy in Edinburgh, Scottish Transport Minister Sarah Boyack said: 'This Government believes road charging has a crucial role to play in tackling the pressing problems posed by congestion and in generating the extra resources we need to improve our transport infrastructure and services. Charging is but a means to an end. We are not advocating charging motorists for the sake of it. Road user charging and workplace parking levies have their place in a balanced tool-kit of transport measures.'

In a letter to all Scottish local authorities, Boyack said: 'I am keen to avoid any misconceptions being aired about how net revenues from road user charging will be spent. You can be assured that, so long as we are in government, the executive will not approve any charging scheme where the money raised was not to be spent on transport projects.'

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