Road pricing under attack

* Transport Select Committee review * Criticises pay-as-you-drive progress * Urges re-examination of policy...

Road pricing under attack

The House of Commons Transport Select Committee has called on the Government to rethink plans to introduce pay-as-you-drive charges.

The group, made up of MPs from all parties, made the call in a review of the Department for Transport's (DfT) performance over the past year.

It expressed doubt that pay-as-you-drive schemes, such as Manchester's proposed congestion charge scheme, would succeed, because most towns and cities are reluctant to act as guinea pigs for such deeply unpopular plans.

The MPs said in their report: 'Little progress is being made with regard to road pricing. There is little evidence to suggest that local authorities have the appetite for submitting the necessary bids.

'We have previously noted that the local road-pricing schemes cannot be effective pilots for a national scheme. We therefore recommend that the Government re-examine its policy with respect to national road pricing.'

The committee also called for the Government to reinstate targets for reducing the number of road users without tax or insurance, which were dropped in March last year.

The DfT's annual report showed that this group of road users had increased to 5% last year, up from 3.6% in 2006.