Bloomberg.com – June 5, 2005
The U.K. government plans to pass a bill to implement a pilot version of a new road charge within the next five years and hopes to implement the charge nationally within 15, a spokeswoman for the Department for Transport said.
The charge, which will be based on the time and distance a driver travels and will replace the current tax on fuel, is necessary to prevent gridlock, said the spokeswoman. It will work with a satellite tracking system monitoring black boxes in all cars, she said. She declined to be identified in accordance with U.K. government policy.
Transport Secretary Alistair Darling will outline the timing of the plan in a speech on June 9 to the Social Market Foundation, a London-based think tank, the spokeswoman said.
The cost of the new charge to drivers may be as much as 1.34 pounds ($2.43) a mile, the Sunday Times newspaper said.
Traffic congestion costs British business more than 15 billion pounds a year, according to the British Chamber of Commerce and spending on Britain's main roads and highways must increase over the next 10 years to avoid gridlock, the RAC foundation estimated in a report last year.
London Mayor Ken Livingstone two years ago implemented a toll of 5 pounds a day in the center of the U.K. capital to reduce congestion and fund improvements to roads and public transport and will raise it to eight pounds as of July 4.
Residents of Edinburgh on Feb. 22 voted by a 3-1 majority against implementing a similar system in the city that would have charged 2 pounds a day.
Last updated 08/06/2005