The warning was made at a CAP Focus event during which fleet managers were told of the possibility of motorway charging and multiple congestion zones, and that they would be targeted to help bring in revenue.
Don Potts, a ministerial adviser at the Department of the Environment, predicted that drivers will be paying up to 35p per mile if controversial motorway charges are introduced. “I guarantee this will happen between now and the next general election,” he said.
Speaking at the event, Mr Potts added that he believes business drivers will be used as guinea pigs for road pricing and urged fleet mangers to keep up to date on all Government carbon-cutting transport initiatives. “The Government will view company car drivers as their first target and companies will be made to pay,” he said.
At the conference, rental companies were also told they may have to help collect road pricing charges on behalf of the Government. John Lewis, director general of the BVRLA, warned that this would be added “at the point of rent”.
“Until the Government tells the industry what the deal is for motorists we’re not going to move. They have to tell us what tax they’re going to substitute for road charging,” he said.
A Department for Transport spokesman confirmed the fleet industry had been approached to help collect road pricing charges and said private firms would begin running trials next year.