Fleet News

Fleets get a say on Scots congestion charging plan

FLEET executives in Edinburgh will have their say on whether congestion charging should be introduced in the city in a referendum taking place this month.

Those eligible to vote will be asked in a postal ballot whether they agree with the proposed £2-a-day scheme.

Many businesses inside the proposed charging zone oppose the idea, saying it will cause trade to suffer and their shops to close.

But the local authorities have said the scheme will be reviewed after two years. If an independent body deems the scheme is not working, it will be scrapped.

Supporters of the plan say the £760 million it is expected to raise over 20 years must be spent on improving transport.

David Spaven, chairman of pro-congestion charging transport alliance TRANSform Scotland, said: ‘Traffic delays and increased sickness from air pollution are bad for business and the wider economy. Fortunately, some very important business interests have had the vision to see that congestion charging will be good for the economy, but a few high-profile retailers who are against the scheme seem to hog the headlines.’

Councillor Andrew Burns, executive member, transport, for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: ‘Roads in Edinburgh are the most intensively used anywhere in Scotland and this means that we need to pour considerable funding into roads just to keep pace with the demands that are presently placed on the network.

‘Roads are an important part of Edinburgh’s transport system and the council recognises that the roads network has suffered from a lack of investment over recent years.’

Cllr Burns said a congestion charge would mean funding would be available for ‘the major investment in our roads which needs to take place’.

The ballot in Edinburgh will take place between February 7 and 21.

Manchester travellers face increased charges

FLEETS based in Manchester – or those which have drivers regularly travelling into the city – could see costs increase if the city launches a congestion-charging scheme as proposed.

Councils in Greater Manchester might be forced to consider a charging scheme to help fund expansion of the area’s supertram system, it is claimed.

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling is said to have told local MPs that a charging scheme should be examined to tackle congestion as a price for getting the system back on track. And according to The Guardian, six months after Darling shelved a £900 million programme that would have more than doubled the size of the 25-mile tram system, the minister says he is prepared to approve a revised and less expensive scheme, subject to conditions.

Business pressure group the Forum of Private Business (FPB) claims Manchester would be ‘committing commercial suicide’ if it introduced a congestion-charging scheme.

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