Fleet News

Government dismisses call for road tolls by the mile

CALLS for fleets to be charged by the mile for all journeys 'as soon as possible' have been dismissed by the Government, which says it could be up to a decade away at the earliest, Transport Secretary Alistair Darling has revealed.

Last month, a new study called 'Orbit: Transport solutions around London' concluded that area-wide road-user charging was the only way of dealing with increasing congestion and rocketing numbers of road-users.

But in a speech to leading industry figures, Darling has warned that even if work was to start in earnest immediately, it would be years before there was any chance of considering such a system. He said that although there are plans to introduce distance-based charges for lorries in 2004 using sophisticated satellite tracking equipment, developing any system for cars was a much more difficult project.

Darling said: 'In my previous roles, I have had great experience of large IT projects. It is a massive step-change between doing this for 400,000 lorries and 25 million cars.

'The debate about how to price roads will have to continue, but with the immense technological challenge involved, I would not see it around in the next decade. However, if you don't look at these things, then you are not doing the job you are supposed to do.'

Darling emphasised that road-user charging was very different to congestion charging and added that the eyes of the world would be on London when the system went live in February.

But he warned: 'Congestion charging can be done if it is done properly. But you have to get the detail right. It is in no-one's interest for it not to work.'

Leave a comment for your chance to win £20 of John Lewis vouchers.

Every issue of Fleet News the editor picks his favourite comment from the past two weeks – get involved for your chance to appear in print and win!

Login to comment


No comments have been made yet.

Compare costs of your company cars

Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

What is your BIK car tax liability?

The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee