The Government’s raft of congestion-reducing plans will increase the administrative burden on fleet managers as they deal with employee claims for local road tolls.
The news comes as the Government finally confirmed it was dropping plans for a national road pricing network, as exclusively revealed by Fleet News last year (September 27, 2007).
Now transport secretary, Ruth Kelly, has revealed that further funding will be offered to towns and cities to develop and implement local congestion-charging schemes, as well as workplace charging.
With the London congestion charge already causing fleets headaches through registrations, non-payments, fines and mistakes, the spectre of other cities throughout Britain all running their own systems could cause huge amounts of extra work.
Ms Kelly said: “Local authorities are already considering whether local road pricing, coupled with investment in public transport, could help them cut congestion.
"The extra funding I'm announcing shows the Government's commitment to funding these schemes over the longer term and I hope that more local authorities will bring forward proposals for consideration.”
Matt Goodman, policy representative for the Forum of Private Business said: "The nationwide road charging plans, which amount to financial penalties for trading in or delivering to certain areas, appear to have been dropped, at least for the time being.
“But the Government has yet to commit to scrapping the idea altogether and authorities are still being encouraged to experiment with charges locally."
Also announced were schemes for road tolls on the outside lanes of motorways and use of the hard shoulder during congested periods.
The Government claims that the first six months of the full M42 hard shoulder trial saw average journey times fall by more than a quarter.
Edmund King, the AA’s president said: “We welcome the government’s retreat from national road pricing and would support the tolling of extra capacity lanes where they offer a premium service and a choice for motorists.
“We are pleased that at last the Government has plans to tackle congestion.
"Controlled use of the hard-shoulder at peak periods at congestion hot-spots will improve journey reliability.”