The House of Commons Transport Committee wants to start a national debate about road pricing – something that has been lacking for more than a decade since the then Labour Government’s road pricing plans were shelved.
This is in advance of an inquiry to be formally announced in early 2020, when the Committee will invite views from across the country from drivers and non-drivers alike about the future of road-based transport.
The UK needs to decarbonise its transport network, tackle congestion, and encourage ‘modal shift’ to alternative forms of transport where appropriate.
The £40 billion annual income from Fuel Duty and Vehicle Excise Duty is likely to decline sharply in future, and may end entirely if the Government keeps its pledge to fully decarbonise road transport within two decades. This income will need to be replaced if the Government is to continue to invest in transport infrastructure and prepare the transport network for a new greener future. In early 2020 the Transport Committee will investigate whether national road pricing should be a part of that future, but wants the public – drivers and non-drivers alike – to begin the discussion now.
Issues to be considered will include pros and cons of road pricing including the economic, environmental, and social impacts. The Committee will also look at the lessons that can be learnt from existing schemes at the national level, local level, and overseas. Road pricing does not only mean tolls – it also includes congestion charges, an HGV levy, workplace parking levy, low emission and clean air zones.
Commenting, CECA chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “We need to pay for our roads in the future, and to do so in a manner that fits with decarbonising the economy. Road pricing might be a solution, but we look forward to examining proposed models that must ensure both that are roads are funded in a sustainable manner, and that those who can least afford to pay aren’t negatively impacted.
“That’s why we welcome the Transport Committee’s aims of kick-starting a national conversation on this issue, and look forward to engaging with our members and other stakeholders to ensure that the UK’s vital roads network is funded in a way that meets the needs of road users, businesses, and communities alike.”
If you are a CECA member and would like to input your views on this issue, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.