Fleet News

Radical change in road tax forecast

EX-TRANSPORT Minister Steven Norris is forecasting a dramatic shift away from fuel taxation as a method of raising revenue as Britain moves towards a hydrogen-based economy.

The former MP predicted the change as ‘we near the end of fossil fuels’.

He said: ‘Over the next decade, the Government will be forced to introduce alternative forms of taxation, including taxes on vehicle movement, which is the most effective way of influencing traffic flows. Charging can be used to get people on to roads you want them to use.’

Norris, the Conservative candidate who failed to dislodge Labour’s Ken Livingstone as London Mayor in this year’s election, praised his rival’s bravery in introducing the congestion charge operating in the centre of the capital.

He told delegates at a public sector fleet conference hosted by LeasePlan’s Automotive Leasing division at the Heritage Motor Centre in Warwickshire, that the congestion charge was welcomed by business car drivers who enjoyed lighter traffic in the heart of London, but it was not the full answer.

He said: ‘The charge covers only eight square miles out of a total of 660 in London and collecting payments by photographing number plates is a nightmare. New motorways with toll charges are not the answer, because that decants traffic on to other roads.

‘Payment linked to traffic management has to be the long-term way of raising tax as cars with fuel cells arrive.’

Norris said workplace parking charges were logical because people only drove if they knew there was somewhere to leave their car at the end of a journey. The Government had been forced to scale down pledges on investment in roads and improvements and a more effective approach on encouraging the use of trains and buses was essential, he said.

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