Fleet News

MPs question Government transport strategy

Controversial plans to use road charging to cut congestion have been questioned by a cross-party group of MPs.

The Transport Committee found that, despite significant finances available, few local authorities have the appetite in bidding for funding for road pricing schemes.

MPs were also “deeply disappointed" by the Government’s abandonment of the lorry road user charging scheme proposed in 2002.

They want it introduced as soon as possible to ensure foreign hauliers start to contribute toward the costs of maintaining the UK road network and for the environmental damage they cause.

The Committee agreed that the Department for Transport has made some progress in addressing its major objectives but says the general picture is “disappointing”.

It was particularly concerned with the evasion rate for Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), which rose from 3.6% in 2005/06 to 5% in 2006/07.

It is now costing the Government some £214 million in lost revenue.

“However, the most worrying aspect of this is that these figures suggest an apparent growth in the number of motorists whose vehicles are not registered, taxed, insured or roadworthy,” said the MPs.

The committee also called on the Government to address the spiralling costs of road schemes and its failure to deliver on road congestion targets.

Transport committee chair, Louise Ellman, said: “The Department must be clear about identifying its main priorities and showing how progress can be measured.

"It must demonstrate more clearly how it is addressing the Stern and Eddington reports so that environmental and economic targets can be achieved."

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