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Road charging is here to stay

10 May 2006

  • Nationwide road charging is on course
  • £10 million for pilot projects
  • Drivers could pay between 2p and £1.34 per mile

National pay-as-you-drive road charging is the preferred government tool to reduce congestion

New transport secretary Douglas Alexander will push ahead with plans for nationwide pay-as-you-drive road charging.

Alexander said a nationwide scheme is the only way to avoid 'eternal gridlock' on UK roads.

Speaking on Radio 4's Today programme, he said the question was not whether nationwide charging should be introduced, but how.

Alexander will soon announce another £10 million in funding for pilot road-pricing projects around the country. Councils in Cambridge, Durham, Bristol, Bath, Greater Manchester, Shrewsbury, Tyne and Wear and the West Midlands are already working on such projects.

The most recent proposals put forward by Government advisors suggest charging motorists between 2p and £1.34 per mile, depending on the time of day and congestion levels on the chosen route. Earlier plans had put the peak charge at 30p per mile.

Even with billions of pounds of investment and nationwide charging, the Department for Transport has warned that UK roads may never flow freely. A footnote in a report released this February said achieving free-flowing traffic at all times would simply cost too much.

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