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‘Charge motorists to drive’

19 July 2004

A national system of road user charging raising £16bn a year should be introduced to replace Vehicle Excise Duty.

IPPR is calling for road user charging

A national system of road user charging raising £16bn a year should be introduced to replace Vehicle Excise Duty.

That’s the verdict of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), which has delivered its findings on the future for the UK’s roads ahead of crucial reports set to be published by the Department for Transport (DFT) by the end of this week.

The influential think-tank says congestion would be reduced by around 7% if all motorists were charged each time they took to the road. While high-mileage drivers, and especially those on congested routes, would see their motoring costs rise, the IPPR reckons motorists in rural areas would end up paying less.

IPPR associate director Tony Grayling said: ‘Motorists should pay for the congestion and pollution they cause. Rural drivers would pay less, but all motorists would benefit from less congestion, a better environment and improved public transport.’

The IPPR reckons it would take 10 years to put a national scheme in place, but is urging the Government to introduce tolls on any motorways which are widened far sooner, and to encourage more congestion charging in cities.

Its report coincides with another from the Independent Transport Commission which predicts that 60% of future traffic growth will be in suburban areas, creating significantly more congestion and extending journey times.

A feasibility report commissioned by the DFT a year ago is expected to back national road charging when it is published later this week. The DFT will also announce the results of its review of the Ten Year Transport Plan before Friday.

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