A new report suggests fleet drivers in the south-west of the country would face the smallest increase of about £26 a month if a national charging scheme was launched.
But the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr) says drivers will benefit from less congestion, so will enjoy quicker journey times.
The independent study, details of which were revealed in last week’s Fleet News, estimates that a national congestion charging scheme could raise £16 billion a year.
But it wants the extra revenue to be used to abolish road tax and pay for road and public transport improvements rather than a cut in fuel duty that it claims would increase traffic on the roads.
Ippr associate director and report author Tony Grayling said: ‘Motorists should pay for the costs of congestion and pollution they cause but motorists on low incomes should not be unfairly penalised.
‘The money raised from a future national congestion-charging scheme should be used to abolish road tax and improve public transport. Rural drivers would pay less while those in urban areas would pay more but all would benefit from less congestion, a better environment and improved public transport.’
The ippr said it would be at least a decade before any such scheme was introduced but suggests that the Government introduces tolls on motorways as they are widened.
Cities too could introduce congestion schemes similar to the one operating in central London, it adds.
Grayling said: ‘But road tolls should not be used as an excuse for building new roads, which causes damage to the environment and generates more traffic. The Government should think twice about its proposal to build a new tolled motorway between Birmingham and Manchester.’
Government ups spending on roads
THE Government claims its Spending Review has given the Department for Transport (DfT) an extra £1.7 billion transport reform package.
Transport will also receive £0.5 billion more every year from 2006/07, meaning expenditure will be more than £2.4 billion higher in 2007-08 than in 2004-05, it adds.
Total expenditure by the DfT will exceed £37 billion over the the years to April 2008.
Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said: ‘This settlement will allow us to continue the progress we have made in delivering the Government’s 10 Year Plan for Transport.’
The RAC Foundation said it welcomed the ‘modest increase’.
Chairman David Holmes said: ‘The funding for roads needs to be increased so that the Chancellor can stick to his promise of not returning to the old stop-go in spending which left hundreds of roads schemes never completed.’