back to article Half of UK road users support usage-based road charging

A Department for Transport survey has found that more than half of UK adults believe that road charging should be based on usage. The finding is revealed in the DfT's survey of public attitudes to road congestion, published on 26 August 2010. Over four in five adults thought that congestion was a serious problem for the UK …


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  1. Anigel

    Show us the questions

    I could get 90% of people to agree stopping breathing was a good idea by crafting the questions.

    No report is worth the paper it isn't written on unless the questions are fair and unbiased.

    Would you prefer road charging based on

    a) actual road usage usage

    b) engine size

    Can then be stated by self serving government departments to prove that everyone who answered this question agreed with road pricing.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Good point!

      "I could get 90% of people to agree stopping breathing was a good idea by crafting the questions."

      Let's see... "Do you agree that CO2 pollution is a terrible problem and that everyone should stop contributing CO2 to the atmosphere?"

      Pretty easy. Ask that at a primary school and see what kind of % you get :D

  2. MarkOne
    Thumb Up

    Think of the cost saving...

    Simply abolish the Tax Disc, calculate the average motorist milage (say 8k per anum), and then add that to the cost of fuel.

    The benefits:

    Pay for what you use.

    If you have a gas guzzler, you pay me

    If you have something environmentally friendly you pay less

    There is NO way to avoid to

    There is no need to police it

    There is no need for the vast majority of DLVA

    Foreign drivers pay to use our roads

    Motorists with more than one vehicle are not stung (e.g. Motorcycle and Car)

    The upsides are many, the downsides are pretty much non-existant. (can anyone think of a valid one?). Just the amount of money saved in Government at the DVLA will bring a huge cost saving...

    As long as the initial calculation of what increase in fuel duty is as a result of it is fair and truey reflects a average UK motorist in a average UK car doing a average UK annual milage, then I am totally in favor of this, and the sooner the better....

    1. Ray Robertson

      On-street parking

      I agree with pretty much all of that.

      The downside to scrapping the Tax Disc is that the number of cars parked on the street will increase. Unused cars will not have to be declared SORN and parked on private land to avoid the tax.

      Also, it may be more difficult to identify abandoned cars.

      I suppose that parking permits could fix that in problem areas.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: On-street parking

        Gosh, identifying untaxed cars must be a *serious* problem for all those countries that don't issue tax discs.

        Oh, wait, it isn't. You know that thing with the aerial on the end that issues the tickets? Well, the traffic warden can look up the tax status of a vehicle from its registration number.

        The tax disc has served absolutely no genuine purpose for many years now. The only reason it still exists is so that when it drops off the windscreen onto the floor they get to fine you for it. Over here I get billed quarterly for car tax and no little pieces of paper have to change hands to accomplish this.

        Oh and SORN? That never served any valid purpose bar ensuring that everyone who owns any sort of vehicle gets to be pissed off by the DVLA rather than only those that actually use them.

        1. peter 45


          the DVLA seems to be a large bureaucracy, which spend most of its time thinking up new means of raising money, which it needs to pay for the large bureaucracy which has built up in order to manage these new ways of raising money.

          1. Ted Treen
            Big Brother

            Congratulations, Peter 45

            You have now discovered Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy.

            "In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely."

    2. John 62

      sounds like fuel duty

      I thought fuel duty was already the pay as you drive road tax.

    3. g e

      And can we ad...

      up the 40p/mile mileage allowance to reflect the 100% price hike in fuel since it was set at that level.

      We spend 000's more on fuel per year than maintenance, should be more like 65-70p per mile by now!

      If anyone knows how 40p was calculated I'd love to know the breakdown (pun not intended!).

    4. Piggy and Tazzy
      Thumb Down

      I can think of one straight away.

      Disabled drivers. Or those with Motability Scheme vehicles.

      Particularly with regards to those with Motability Scheme cars - where usually their entire Disability Allowance is used to fund the cost of the car, leaving nothing left over for the cost of the fuel. You suggestion would unfairly penalise them.

      Here's another one - rural drivers. Often with no public transport alternatives and are accordingly forced to use their cars. This would unfairly penalise them.

      Oh and how about this one - People who use their cars because the public transport costs are an absolute bloody rip off and, in many cases, are MUCH more expensive than driving the car. Sort out the bloody public transport costs BEFORE hammering motorists at every angle and I might be inclined to start agreeing with you.

      So much for 'pretty much non-existant downsides', eh? Or was it a case of you not being bothered enough to actually give it some thought?

      I never fail to be amazed that we SOLD OFF the train rail network to private investors who then still demand massive subsidies to operate, seemingly increase ticket prices whenever they feel like it, cut train services (or increase the First Class provision), are making enormous profits for the shareholders and Execs - and yet still bleat and whine that they don't have any money for investment! They should be forced to invest some of those obscene profits ni the network. Or use them to reduce ticket prices. No-one (and I don't believe the poll stating that 4 out of 5 agree with road pricing) will accept us as drivers continuing being milked until there are AFFORDABLE alternatives.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        That's bollocks

        "Here's another one - rural drivers. Often with no public transport alternatives and are accordingly forced to use their cars. This would unfairly penalise them."

        I live in a rural area, and have no problem with putting the cost on fuel, do you have some evidence that suggests that rural drivers do more miles than urban drivers? If not, then it's not a unfair tax at all. Nobody is forcing anyone to pay for something they don't already pay for. We are saying that those that take more (of the road) should pay more.

        Pretty much all your points actually fail.. Nobody is entitled to have a car, not even the disabled.

        I say go one further, if you are an OAP, you get the choice, keep your car OR get a free bus pass, you can't have both.... Surrender your licence in exchange for your free OAP bus pas..

    5. Syntax Error

      You Need Road Tax

      Otherwise how do the governement and the police know who owns motor vehicles then?

    6. Wayland Sothcott 1
      Big Brother

      downside is obvious

      There would be no need for ANPR cameras and satellite tracking of every journey make and how many people in the car. No need for in car face recognition cameras pointing at the driver. No need for ID cards and implanted RFID chips.

      Clearly the only way of fairly taxing the road system is to track every movement of every human and tax based on all the data collected. If you make a journey without paying the charge in advance you can then be fined.

  3. MarkOne
    Thumb Up

    Link to vote for this.

    You know it makes sense...

    1. AndyS
      Thumb Up

      Comment backlog

      Cue 20 posts below (mine not yet even published) saying exactly the same thing, with everyone (myself included) thinking they were the first to say it!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Scrap VAT on duty first...

      Yes, scrap Road Tax and increase the duty. But make sure that VAT is paid ONLY on the cost of the fuel as NOT on fuel+duty as is currently the case. And make sure that the additional duty is spent on maintaining roads AND pavements.

  4. bobbles31

    This old chestnut...

    The Dept for Transport keep wheeling out this policy as the solution to the countries traffic ills. I suspect that some top Civil Servant in that dept has shares in Serco or something who will probably be commissioned to run the scheme.

    There is already a form of road pricing, it is called fuel duty. Put it up and those that use the roads the most pay the most. Those that sit on the worse congested roads pay more it is totally self administering and doesn't require spending billions of tax pounds on an IT infrastructure to monitor the movements of all cars. Unless of course the real aim is to monitor the movements of all cars in which case you probably need to find some way to sell the idea to a sceptical public.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      The title is too long.

      <STRONG>"Unless of course the real aim is to monitor the movements of all cars in which case you probably need to find some way to sell the idea to a sceptical public."</STRONG>

      Now who'da thunk they'd still be trying all the things that NuLabour did, but with a different justification?

      It doesn't matter who I vote for, the Government still gets in!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    stupid title

    Thing is most people think they will pay less.

    So every 100 drivers pay 15,000 in road tax between them. And their average millage is say 15,000 miles per year. They think that as they do only 7,500 miles they will save money and only pay £75.

    what they do not understand is that the top end drivers with their 100,000 - 150,000 milesper year will be capped on payments otherwise they will go out of business.

    Also the goverment knows that the average person was paying £150 do they will eventully increase the charges to that amount, or build in the cost of the systemm at the beginning.

  6. Yesnomaybe

    Half of UK road users..

    ..."prefers" to bite down on a piece of wood, when shafted roughly from behind.

  7. Michael Faulkner

    Is is that difficult

    With regards the statement

    "Any road charging scheme, the most high profile example of which is London's congestion charge, would involve the heavy use of IT for identifying vehicles and tracing their owners"

    Why can we not just add the road charge to the price of Petrol/diesel (any fuel), and then the government retrieve it from the fule companies. That way you only pay for what you use, and you also do not have the issue that people will refuse to pay, they have to buy fuel!

    What would we be talking about, a few pence per litre. Could it be that simple?

    1. CaptainHook

      Electric Cars

      What happens when Electric cars start becoming wide spread, if they ever do.

      You would have to find a way of seperating the electricity used in the home and the electricity used in charging the car battery so that you can add extra tax to it.

      And since there would be a financial advantage to charging at the domestic rate, even if the charging units had their own meters somebody would run an extension cord out the window.

      1. Ravenger

        Why do you think they want us all to have smart meters?

        So that when electric cars become widespread you won't be able to charge them using normal household electricity, as that's not taxed enough.

        Instead the smart meter in your house will communicate with the smart charger in your car and automatically add 'Electric Vehicle Charging Duty' to the cost of each unit of electricity you use to re-charge your vehicle.

  8. Matt Bradley


    We already have "usage based road charging" - it's called fuel duty.

    Logic fail.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      road usage and fuel duty

      > We already have "usage based road charging" - it's called fuel duty.

      No it isn't. That's a tax on the use of fuel. This isn't the same thing as road usage. A gas guzzler will need a lot more fuel to use as much road as a supermini, all other things being equal.

      Transport policy in this country has been fucked up for decades. There are too many cars and trucks on the roads and far too much congestion as a result. But there's no alternative because public transport is either non-existent or expensive and shit.

      Road pricing is not the answer, even if it could be made to work and the civil liberties problems could be solved. Which of course they won't.

      Meanwhile the Department of Transport plays a long game, softening up public opinion for road pricing, as it prepares the ground for yet another over-ambitious and expensive surveillance system. You'd hope Whitehall would look past the PR bullshit and realise from the ID card fiasco that this new scheme is doomed to fail.

      1. Matt Bradley


        "No it isn't. That's a tax on the use of fuel. This isn't the same thing as road usage. A gas guzzler will need a lot more fuel to use as much road as a supermini, all other things being equal."

        ...So a bigger car (occupying more road space) will cost more?

        Still sounds like a road use tax to me.

        ...And travelling a larger, faster, less congested road at higher average speed will cost less?

        Yep. Still sounds more efficient way to charge for road usage than a huge network of cameras and ridiculous administrative / bureaucratic overhead.

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: Doh!

          You would have a point, if all vehicles of a given size and occupying the same road space used the same amount of fuel.......

          Mine's the one with the keys to the AC Cobra in the pocket.

          1. Matt Bradley
            Thumb Down

            Good point

            Good point. With road usage tax, I'll be able to run a massive 5l V8, and pay the same as somebody else running a 1.6

            Unless of course, there's going to be some elaborate and complex way of charging based upon engine size.

            Oh wait, hang on, don't we already have this with FUEL DUTY?

            As I say. Logic fail.

            This whole idea is somewhere on the far side of daft.

            1. Ted Treen


              "This whole idea is somewhere on the far side of daft."

              As is the government and a majority of civil servants.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Road usage charging on the cheap?

    Surely the cheapest way to charge for road usage would be to scrap the annual tax and add the cost to a litre of petrol.

    How ever much travelling you do, the more you pay. It would also mean foreign cars get 'taxed', "gas guzzlers" get 'taxed' at a higher rate, lorries get 'taxed' higher still. As long as the rate of extra duty is ring-fenced so it can't be syphoned into the education budget and any increases are stated separately in the budget.

    Extra set-up and running costs? Nil

    The only problem would be charging extra for the busiest and most congested roads - this could be solved by putting in a series of steep hills to use up more fuel, though!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

      Or by going back to the tricks that Red Ken was playing on Londoners before his "Congestion" Charge tax came into play: fiddle with the traffic light timings to cause extra congestion. It is incredible how much extra fuel is used in a 3 hour stop/start crawl/delay. That will have the added advantage of fouling up the air quality measurements, so the greenies can then campaign to have all the affected roads declared "traffic free" (in the same way that vast swathes of the landscape is now "smoke free").

      Whichever way they do it, the ambition seems to foul up the ability of the individual to travel in his own country, except he has permission from "the authorities" for each and every journey.

  10. Arnold Lieberman
    Thumb Down

    Let me guess

    The half that agreed were those who do below average mileage. Either way, two things are going to happen:

    1. Money will not go back into transport. It doesn't now so it's not likely to happen in the future. Road transport subsidises general government expenditure to the tune of billions.

    2. It's not going to be cost neutral. IT systems and bureaucracy have to be paid for so if the total take is the same as now there will inevitably be less money for government to use.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    If only...

    If only there was an easy way to tax motorists based on road usage, perhaps even going so far as to link those taxes to fuel efficiency so that bigger cars pay bigger taxes.

    Hmm, how about putting a tax on PETROL???? Oh, we've got one? Good, now go away.

  12. Martin 47
    Thumb Down

    yeah right

    'more than half of UK adults believe that road charging should be based on usage.'

    seems to me that they have employed the same statisticians that 'proved' how effective speed cameras are

  13. blackworx


    "half of adults said that money raised from a road charging should be spent solely on roads and transport "

    What? And have drivers think they own the roads even more than they do already? Not on your nelly.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Charging based on use? We do that already...'s called petrol (or diesel) and it's associated taxes.

    The more you use the more you pay. We do that already, so don't lump on extra "road charging" as if it's some great, fantastic "equaliser" of the heavy road users. All it would be would be an EXTRA charge on top of what we pay right now.

  15. Ritchie1987
    Thumb Up

    This is a good idea

    This will add an extra incentive for people to live closer to work or work from home, it will ensure that those who use the roads most pay the most, it’s a fair system which will save money for those of us that choose to use our cars less (it is possible, people just need to be willing to change – I’ve reduced my annual mileage by around 8k Miles in the last two years!). If its properly executed and all the money doesn't just go to central government this would be very good for the countries roads.

    Also such a system could be used to track down uninsured cars (among other things), I think most of us would agree it would be better for all of us law abiding citizens if we chucked these offenders off our roads or at least gave them heavy fines to drive down the cost of our driving!

    1. Anonymous Coward


      ...I work in an utter fucking shithole of an area. That's why the campus is here, it's dead cheap land as no one want to live in this hole.

      I live 10 miles from work and oddly enough when I did live closer, it actually took 20 minutes longer to work as I had to battle with the other hapless soles.

      So now I live further out, come in a different route and probebrly use less fuel.

      And as I live ina nice area, I don't have to drive out every weekend to get out of the shit tip, I'm happy to walk to the shops at night as I know I'm unlikely to get stabbed. My kid can play in the park without worring about sitting on a syringe by some crack head and my wife can go to the local without fear of being raped.

      So fuck of you smug self centered prick. I pay for the travel it's called fuel duty, so don't tell me I should live in some fucking dump, to save £1 a week.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        Are you running for MP.

        i would vote for you :)

      2. Chris Parsons

        The art of debate

        It's good to see that the internet has honed the art of reasoned debate. Just because you can denigrate someone with appalling language, which, in ordinary circumstances, would result in you having your head kicked in, it doesn't mean you absolutely have to.

  16. Vitani

    I don't get it

    Why do they need to make driving on the roads *more* complicated? Ditch road tax, ditch tolls, and ditch congestion charges then stick it all on fuel. One payment, less administration, money saved.

    Or am I missing something?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Yep - your missing something

      The only problem is that anyone bringing a lorry or car into the UK will fill the tanks to the brim before crossing the channel. Lorries that may cross the channel regularly will have large capacity fuel tanks fitted. Chip shops will do a roaring trade in selling waste oil to anyone with a garden shed to produce home brew diesel in. Every back street garage will have a special offer on converting your car to run on propane or butane from cylinders intended for bbq’s. In Northern Ireland, those who don’t know someone in the IRA with a nice line in smuggled fuel will fill up in Eire, and quite how they decide to make electric cars pay their way, I really don’t know.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Fuel tank tax

        Tax lorries coming in based on the capacity of their fuel tanks. I'd be interested in knowing what UK haulage firms think of that idea. Because it's not like every UK truck returning from the continent fills up with cheap fuel before getting on the ferry, is it now?

        Petrol prices in Eire are not actually very competitive, although that varies with the exchange rate, especially near the border where the Irish petrol stations generally up their prices to just a bit below the UK prices, much to the annoyance of local Irish people.

  17. Neil 8

    Fuel duty?

    There are some shaky assumptions and conclusions in there, not least "Any road charging scheme... would involve heavy use of IT".

    "Fuel duty" is still a usage-based road charge, just not one that offers much control.

    However, the article doesn't talk about whether over 50% of users want the govt to have that extra control, or whether they're happy for the money to be spent on the infrastructure for it.

  18. Adam 10


    Will they be able to sell "unlimited" road usage as well (subject to Fair-Use policy of 10 miles/month, speeds UP TO 70mph, mean of 5mph, capacity may be reduced at peak times etc etc)

  19. Craig Collier
    Thumb Down

    In other news....

    ....almost half of all Road Users are opposed to usage-based road charging

  20. Anonymous Coward


    Duty on fuel.


    No need for tracking and monitoring. Heavier consumers (with more power/more destructive to infrastructure) use more fuel pay more duty.

    Hgv use even more fuel (7-10mpg ) and pay even more duty. Just like now.


    No big load of contracts for the boys for the usual suspects

    No big free citizen monitoring network slipped under radar

  21. Dazed and Confused

    There are lies, damn lies and...

    Can't say I've ever found a motorist that agrees with any road pricing scheme. I've not looked at the actual report, I wonder how they worded the question to get that sort of response.

    We have a very efficient road pricing scheme in operation already. One that requires no spy technology to work. One which is very hard to evade, even by people with no tax, no MOT, no insurance and no registered keeper of the vehicle. It also accurately tracks their emissions. It works by the simple method of mugging motorists at the pumps. The fuel companies pay almost all the costs of recovering this massive revenue stream for the government.

    The only major loop whole is imported fuel with HGVs with large fuel tanks filling up in lower taxation countries and avoiding buying UK taxed fuel. Perhaps they could be charged fuel duty at the entry ports.

    1. Adam Foxton
      Thumb Up

      Foreign lorries

      are a tiny problem exploiting a loophole that wouldn't let them get THAT much of a saving. And as they start doing that the prices just across the channel will go up, pushing them further back into mainland Europe as they buy cheaper fuel, thus limiting further their range within the UK.

      The wording of the questionnaire was probably "Which do you support? Road Pricing or terrorist paedophiles being used as toilet monitors at primary schools? A non-answer will result in a vote for Road Pricing". And they still only got just over a third to vote for RP over CP...

      Increased fuel costs and no tax are the way forwards. You could make massive savings getting rid of big chunks of the DVLA as well, and ensure more votes at the next election.

      Also, mandatory installation of instantaneous mpg-o-meters (like BMWs, mercs, etc have) on all new cars would be a good move- since I started paying attention to mine, my fuel consumption has just about halved and my driving's become smoother.

  22. Bassey

    Nice idea in principle

    It's a nice idea in principle and sounds fair but can only really be so if there is a reasonable alternative. Whilst the public transport system is still so shoddy and expensive then expansive road pricing will lead to;

    Ever higher increase in house prices in towns compare to the country as people compete for housing that will save them from having to pay to use roads.

    The poor being shoved out further and further as they can't afford to compete for the housing

    The poor getting poorer because they now commute the furthest and so have to pay by usage.

    To put it another way a pay by usage scheme doesn't really reflect a choice by the travelling public. The poor will not be choosing to travel further and therefore pay more. They will simply be forced to do so by being poor and there being not alternative. So it simply becomes another regressive tax.

  23. Andy Jones
    Thumb Down

    Double dipping

    I am already charged for usage-based road use. It is called fuel tax. The more I drive the more fuel tax I have to pay. On top of that I pay VAT on that tax as well (double dipping no.1)

    What they want is to just extract more money. We will be charged fuel tax and then levies on road usage. The fuel tax will not go down. They just want more money because they are incompetent at handling the vast amounts of money we already give them.

  24. Dougal 2

    Lies, damned lies and statistics!

    Here we go again. Bogus statistics used to justify policy (and to create a huge long-term cash pit - which the I.T. industry will be having wet-dreams over). This has just got to increase costs for all road users.

    I'm also not sure how you can justify the headline based on the statistics contained within the article. It looks to me as though more people are against the idea now than were two years ago.

  25. Stuart 22
    Thumb Down

    Hidden Agenda

    Let's be clear why the government wants to do this. The switch from petroleum based power to electric, lpg and maybe hydrogen is going to put a huge hole in the fuel duty finances. The government needs to maintain the income independently of the fuel used. Usage solves that neatly.

    The awkward factor is that usage does not penalise inefficient energy use (type AND quantity) unless you have opt outs as in the London Congestion Charge. But then that introduces the absurdities of people driving huge hybrid energy hungry Lexus Hybrids compared with someone driving a more energy efficient vehicle (like a Citroen C1). Thsi sends wrong messages.

    Oh and for the conspiracy theorists it ensures the government knows where you are and have been. But they do already!

    1. Ben Jury

      I dont have a subject!

      > Oh and for the conspiracy theorists it ensures the government knows where you are and have been. But they do already!

      Dont discount this. Do you really think they will collect all this data and only use it for charging for the distance covered?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        This isn't a subject?

        It'd be nice if the system could provide rights to open audits, transparent access, open sourced everything, hard mathematical guarantees, and all that, to show exactly what they use the data for, how long and what for they keep it, and so on. So that even if for some unfathomable reason privacy has to suffer (try harder!) we bloody well know the reason why.

        That is very different than having to rely on mis-mailed DVDs or USB sticks left on trains to know what the government is up to now with our data.

        Besides, the government should stop getting off on new database toys and the plod should get back to policing by Peelian Principles. You know your security force has lost contact with reality if it's going to have to tax you to "make you happy".

        [What, does Friend Computer detect dissent, Citizen? Have a happy pill, Citizen!]

  26. Dave Ross
    Thumb Down

    The problem..

    is that the government would initially bring this in as a replacement for road tax (if we are lucky) but then a "reason" will be found to bring back road tax and at that point a lot of people will wish Guy Fawkes had succeeded...

  27. bitmap animal
    Thumb Down

    Perfect system in place

    There is already a perfectly good system in place that covers un-green vehicles, 'uneconomic' driving styles and miles driven. It's called Fuel Duty.

    This covers all the things these other stealth / side taxes need to cover with the exception of targeting individual stretches of road.

    Road charging just forces those who have to travel to pay extra tax.

  28. a53

    Road charging

    They'd have to drop ALL the other road taxes though. Otherwise (as the lottery, which has spread it's wings and now funds thousands of things never envisaged at the start), we'll still end up paying over the odds.

  29. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Carts and horses

    which comes first?

    Unless our overlords are willing to have some sort of alternative to cars in place before implementing road charging, it becomes just another tax.

    And by alternative I don't mean the ability to wizz punters from city-centre to city-centre at the mercy of whatever the rail operators choose to call "peak time". No, any alternative has to include the "last mile" bit - otherwise it becomes useless. So, not only must it get me somewhere close to (say) Manchester on a Friday afternoon, or Monday morning, but it must get me to the industrial estate just off the M60, where trains are unheard of and bus services fear to venture.

    Without the ability to move people from source to destination (and I'm not using RyanAir's definition of a destination here: with 50 miles is close enough) or doorstep to doorstep, all this sort of plan will succeed in doing is raising more money, while concentrating business development even more tightly in city centres where the only practical mass-transport hubs will be located.

  30. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Biased statistics

    OK, so there is no such thing as unbiased statistics (especially not with government), but:

    "Over four in five adults thought that congestion was a serious problem for the UK and nine in 10 said that it was important for the government to tackle the problem."

    WTF?? I don't think anyone where I used to live thought that congestion was a serious problem for the UK. Who did they ask? The workers at Capita?

  31. Rob Farnell

    Hang on

    Isn't the tax on fuel a reasonable form of usage cost? The only one's that really get round this are the European lorries that generally fill up before they cross the channel. Obviously it is up for debate where the fuel tax should be spent, but it sounds better than usage-based road charging and the technical and freedom headache that would cause.

  32. King Jack
    Thumb Down

    The slippery slope

    Sounds good until the yearly increments kick in. Then the fools who want it realize that their beloved motor is now a government spy, who tracks every journey.

    Time to dust off the mountain bike.

  33. Sam Liddicott

    It's not about the roads

    Fuel duty is usage-based charging, and doesn't require any more infrastructure.

    This is about controlling people and/or cash for the cronies who will do it.

  34. AndyS

    I agree.

    It's only fair that we should pay a tax for how much we use the road. Obviously bigger, heavier vehicles should pay more. I guess you could administer this based entirely on vehicle usage - say, by taxing the fuel.

    On top of that, a one-off slap-in-the-wallet every year, scaled to make people think about whether they really need that Chelsea Tractor, would probably go a long way to reducing overall vehicle sizes. A large one-off large yearly payment stings more than small incremental fuel bills, so it makes you think more.

    Sounds like a good system to me.

  35. Eden

    My maths isn't the best in the world but...

    OK so I'm no mathmatician but 38% positive response in a poll clearly worded to skew more positive results = Half UK road users support?


  36. Benjamin 4

    No overall increase in costs?

    "If there was no overall increase to the cost of motorists"

    The only reason the govt would introduce this is to get even more money. The chances of them reducing road tax / fuel duty to ensure that there was no overall cost increase is slightly less than zero.

  37. Kevin Johnston

    Quelle surprise...

    As I had a few spare moments I thought I would read the report in full and....gosh, shock horror....the usual range of fuzzy question are being asked in order to be able to read the results in any way you would like. The critical bit about road charging carefully avoids mentioning that the revenue from road fund license was originally intended for supporting the road infrastructure and there is a huge direct 'travel more - pay more' tax built into the 300% VAT/duty on the pump price of fuel.

    Should a government have an attack of honesty (OK so no danger there) and use the motorist derived revenue to improve the infrastructure we would be world leaders. Any attempt to add more direct taxation onto the current direct and indirect burden can never be justified, not to say it won't happen though sadly.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Why do we have to keep going round the houses on this old sore.

    Wouldn't the simplest solution be to put ALL the road use tariff on fuel? The more you drive the more you pay.

    Should you wish to drive 500 miles per week in a luxury sallon or sports car then pay for it.

    On the other hand if you choose to drive a small engined car; pay only for that.

    Tariff on fuel would exercise people's decision much more effectively than road pricing which will lead to more rat-runs being found to avoid the priced roads, should the M6 toll be used as a model, causing congestion on the unpriced roads and the resultant increase in pollution and potentially accident rates. Whereas blanket area charging such as the London congestion zone would be difficult to apply in, let us say, the Lake District, South West England or other holiday black spots wouldn't it? So how would pricing in Bristol centre help congestion in Bideford, Preston help Kendal?

    Am I missing something fundemental or am I just mental?

  39. David 66
    Thumb Down

    I pay enough, thankyou.

    There was thing thing once called the Road Fund Tax, and everyone who wished to drive on the public roads would pay according to the size of their vehicle.

    Now, new cars don't necessarily pay anything and they're subsidised by drivers like me who has an old, proven car which gives off a very small fraction more emissions. I hate you tax-dodging bastards, one and all.

  40. Graham Marsden

    "When asked...

    "...whether they would be prepared to accept road pricing as long as there was no overall increase in the amount paid by motorists as a whole"

    And when they were asked how they felt knowing that every journey they took would be tracked and probably linked ANPR cameras would be used to automatically assign speeding tickets to anyone who went from A to B faster than they were supposed to they said...?

    Oh, of course they didn't say anything, because they were *NEVER* asked those questions!!

  41. Tim #3

    Misleading headlines

    Surely the headline should be "Further decline in support for road pricing" :-

    "When asked whether they would be prepared to accept road pricing as long as there was no overall increase in the amount paid by motorists as a whole, 38% agreed while 34% disagreed. Two years ago, 41% agreed and 35% disagreed."

  42. Alex King

    Rubbish headline

    Road users != adults.

    Come on, a little critical evaluation from the writer please?

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yay for euphemism driven policy making

    "Any road charging scheme, [...], would involve the heavy use of IT for identifying vehicles and tracing their owners."

    So did these heroes of questionably-asking-questionaires actually ask "Do you support heavy IT use and storing your traffic usage details indefinitely so we can charge you for road use and incidentally track your every move?" Did they? Thought not. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't get halfway to the fifty percent mark that way. Quelle surprise.

    Summing up: Lies, damn lies, statistics, government spin, government statistics, -evidence- survey driven government policy making. Carry on government.

  44. Chris Miller

    Why road pricing won't work

    Take yesterday - fairly typical - visit to a customer's site, due to arrive at 10:00. Both my home and the site are 25 miles outside London but in directions differing by 120 degrees, so the journey is just over 50 miles. I have two choices:

    a) drive (half of the journey round the M25) - journey time 75-90 minutes each way; or

    b) train - journey time 150 minutes each way.

    The road journey costs about £10 in petrol, which is pretty much the only marginal cost, but let's call it £12 to allow for servicing etc. I don't have any choice about owning a car, given where I live. So road pricing would have to be 30p a mile to make the train competitive on price and that's without factoring in the loss of over 2 hours of time.

    Bottom line - unless public transport becomes much cheaper and faster, I'm stuck in my car.

  45. DB2k

    road tax

    Hows about the money the government gets from Road Tax is used solely for the roads instead of for duck islands and helicopter rides.

  46. Stratman


    On the face of it, rolling up all the revenue raising schemes into fuel duty is a good idea. It can't be avoided and it's cheap and simple to collect.

    What it won't address is alternative technology. Long before the oil runs out the likes of thee and me won't be allowed to buy petrol or diesel. That will be reserved for the military and their offshoots. The government will still want the income from fuel duty, so it makes sense (to them) to get the technology in place nice and early so different schemes can be compared and the bugs ironed out. Replacing fuel duty has to start sometime, why not now?

    The other, more immediate flaw with replacing the Vehicle Excise Duty disc by additional fuel duty is government greed. They will argue (incorrectly, but when has that ever stopped them) that an easily seen proof of insurance and MOT will still be needed. Let's call it a 'Compliance Disc'. This will be issued to vehicles which comply with all the regulations and so may use the roads. Naturally a small administrative charge will need to be made to cover the cost of issuing the disc. How long before this charge is back up to VED levels?

  47. Charles Smith

    Kill this damn stupid idea, there are simpler and better ways.

    Vehicle Excise Duty rate: - based on potential usage and potential carbon output;

    Congestion Charge: - based on potential usage and potential carbon output;

    Fuel Duty: - based on actual usage and carbon generated;

    Proposed Road Charging? Why? We have already paid for the roads many times over.

    A couple of years ago I spoke with the CIO from the transport agency and asked how they proposed to overcome the inaccuracy of GPS for the road charging schemes and the cases where different roads run closely together. She couldn't answer those questions.

  48. Anonymous Coward

    Boring accountancy question

    Any boring bastard know the answer to this one? Where in the nation's accounts is the capital value of the roads accounted for? They amount to something like 20% of a city's footprint, and plenty of hectares of countryside, and are therefore worth a fortune (though the scope for alternative uses is admittedly limited).

    The point is, when we buy a rail ticket we're paying for the capital value of the track, railway land, and all. But much of the cost of driving is fixed: car tax, insurance, age-related depreciation. When we compare driving with rail we make an unfair comparison: the marginal cost of driving vs. the full cost of a train ticket. It would be much better if the comparison could be fairer, by making more of the cost of motoring variable.

    Which is a longwinded way of saying that fuel- or road-use-taxes are the way to go. And that I don't like how much the gas-guzzler that hardly ever leaves my garage is costing me.

  49. Rogerborg

    Add it to fuel duty? Err, electric vehicles.

    You really think Central Services can't figure out that fuel duty is the fairest and most efficient way of road pricing?

    The reason they won't go with that is that Revenue Retrieval are already bricking themselves over the likely increase in electric vehicles, or hydrogen fuel cells + homebrew electrolysis kits.

    They need to get a system in place now that will allow them to collect revenue from these vehicles, or else there will be a gaping black hole in Central Funds bigger than Paris' snooch.

  50. Anonymous John

    Hidden agenda?

    [cynic mode]

    I wonder if the D/TI is looking ahead to a future with a lot of electric cars. With no road tax to be paid for, and an energy source that can't be taxed as heavily as petrol and diesel.

    [/cynic mode]

  51. Anonymous Coward

    "Charges should be spent on roads"


    Once we've got your money, we can do what the fuck we want with it.

    Mines the one with the hand-crafted gold lining.

  52. Dr. Mouse

    Skip to the end...

    To many comments to be arsed reading but...

    As many have already said, the easiest method is put it all on fuel.

    They could always sset this up so haulage firms can claim some back, similar to VAT, to stop them going out of business. Savings will be made in administration costs (e.g. DVLA). Motorists don't need the extra hassle of tax discs, nor is all that paper wasted.

    I am not the first to say it, nor the first to think it. The idea, though, is a good one, simple and effective. Therefore it will be ruled out, and will never happen...

  53. Ian Yates

    Govt stats

    Do we know what question was asked?

    The usual way the government convince the populace that "everyone else wants this, so you should too", is that they are very clever when wording surveys.

    For instance, "Should we replace tax discs with mileage tax?" will get a different response to "Should mileage tax be spent solely on roads?", which I suspect is more like the question they asked.

    They then take anyone who doesn't tick/write something specifically anti the idea to being pro it.

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Putting the charge on fuel duty is a little oversimplistic

    There are a number of issues that need addressing with respects to car use, but it boils down to two separate issues: physical and environmental impact of the traffic.

    Physical impact is things like congestion, but also things like wearing the roads out and so on.

    Environmental impact is mainly the CO2 bit but also the impact on quality of life [for those outside the vehicle].

    A blanket rise in fuel duty wouldn't resolve these, it would work out at something like 10p per litre (12000 miles a year @ 35mpg = 343ImpG= 1560 litres. Given a typical car tax of £160 that is about 10p a litre - your maths may vary) but it would be collected blanketly across all road users - this would not be fair for a number of reasons:

    Rural drivers cause little congestion and in general little environmental impact above the pure CO2 output, however city drivers cause a much higher relative impact.

    Conversely, sporty cars tend to have big engines but be fairly light, with big tyres - causing much less damage to the road surface than heavier but more efficient cars.

    What would be fair, is to charge for road use based on a number of factors: vehicle size, weight and number of passengers, fuel consumption, each particular bit of road driven on and the time the driving was done.

    Clearly this is very complicated, would require GPS tracing of every car coupled with cameras everywhere for when the GPS units "fail" (privacy anyone) and would be very expensive to implement, run and enforce.

    Personally, however I favour a levy on fuel - it may be unfair but it is easy and, except for using red diesel, pretty much impossible to evade.

    1. John 62

      country dwellers

      I'm a country bumpkin myself and we do cause congestion :) like when going t'big smoke, droving cattle along the roads at peak times and keeping lines of traffic behind tractors bwa-ha-ha!

      I do a lot of mileage because there is a lot of road between things in the country. I go to my local shop at an 8 mile round trip for a litre of milk, but generally go to the supermarket in town at a 20 mile round trip because it's really not much less convenient (nice bit of dual carriageway most of the way) and the selection is better. There might not be a lot of traffic on some of the roads where I live, but they all need maintained, especially with the latest huge tractors thundering around, which are particularly good at messing up the roads on hot days.

      The other thing is, that if there's a lot of congestion, there's going to be a lot of fuel burnt because of inefficiency. Hence more money to alleviate the congestion.

      If cars are going to go electric, tho, I'm not sure of the best equivalent to fuel duty. Maybe special cables/connectors and special sockets that are metered differently.

  55. AD 4
    Thumb Down

    Depends on the question

    "Do you support road charging in general, at some point over five years in the future?"is a very different question to "Do you support road charging on your route, starting in the next couple of years?" as the Manchester referendum discovered.

    I expect the government to be bigging road charging up as an insurance in case electric/fuel cell cars prove viable. Assuming that the highest milage users would be the first to switch to alternative fuels (as they would save the most money), revenue from fuel tax could decline far more rapidly than the government to could make a case for and implement road pricing.

  56. s. pam Silver badge

    Supporters of this new tax are completely full of bullsh*t

    sorry you impetous morons but that do you think that 67p of every litre is for. why the heck aren't you suing the gubmnt or out screaming en masse about being ripped off as the 67p/litre SUPPOSED to go to this is already been wasted on skivers, etc. you must be a group of failed genetic experiments run amok if you cna't see the poor will take it up the khyber again and rich motorists will just ignore it.

    and think -- should you have the capacity to do so, we also pay extra road tax for our tax discs. oh i see you didn't think of that.

    plus it has failed you lot that this is from the same tower of brown sh*t that said speed cameras saved lives.

  57. pan2008


    Think about the IT project to monitor all cars. Would cost 100Billion, use half of the earths satellite and another 20B yearly to run. That's cost savings. Did they mention they will have to monitor every yard you do in your car and they will know where you are?

    1. SlabMan

      Well, you could do it that way...

      Or you use scanners the road to read an 'electronic tax disc' transponder in every vehicle and relay the charging info back over a WiMax network. It doesn't have to much more complicated than a jumbo-sized Oyster card system. Yo could even tag up bicycles.

      Alternatively, a Tory welfare-to-work scheme might send the unemployed out with clipboards and biros.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      GPS Satellites give off a time signal. All the work is done at the receiving end. 1 or 100 million users makes no difference to the satellite. It's just broadcasting a radio signal.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Firstly, although this shows public attitudes towards road congestion it only shows a small sample of those views: Only 51% of the 5451 persons asked for an interview responded to the questions. One should be wary of making generalisations based on such a small sample size.

    Secondly, asking people questions about whether or not they believe method X will reduce congestion is tangential to whether or not method X will actually reduce congestion. One would think that if the DfT were actually keen to know whether a particular scheme would actually reduce congestion they would do what any good scientist does - prepare a methodology, carry out randomised controlled trials, publish the results and ask for comments in peer review journals. Then, by a process of refinement, elimination and thinking, they might arrive at one or more solutions to the problems of traffic congestion.

    Thirdly, it wouldn't matter what kind of reasonable charging scheme you put in place - I still live in Sheffield and work in Leeds. For a variety of reasons Sheffield has a problem attracting the level and quality of business as Leeds. On top of that I thoroughly enjoy working for my current company, I have to be at work between certain core hours (which coincide with the busiest times on the roads), and the company is unlikely to move to where I live. Thus a change in road charging is unlikely to persuade me to not use the busiest roads at the busiest times unless it becomes prohibitive for me to do so, at which point the discussion gets heads out of the DfT's remit and into more general economic territory. (Yes I could move house, but there are a variety of reasons why this is not practical for me at this point in time).

    I can't say I'd fancy the task of sorting out traffic congestion because it's related to so many other issues. I'm not sure I'd go about it this way, though.

  59. SlabMan

    Congestion charging

    Road usage charging can, in theory, be smarter than fuel duty: charge trucks less to drive at night; charge cars more for making short rush hour journeys (eg school runs).

    So, where road usage actually incurs costs on society, there is a way to levy payback. Imagine something like a taxi-meter on your dashboard displaying the current charging band.

    Yes, there will be a big brother element of being able to track cars. On the upside, they'll at least be able to take down all the cameras as they won't be needed anymore. And, no doubt, the police wil be able to detect any unlicensed vehicles.

    Yes, drivers will squeal, but they've been mis-sold a dream of limitless freedom to motor. That' dream is literally running out of road.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reduced council tax follows

    My council tax bill includes a specific amount of my tax that goes towards maintenance of the roads. Given that I don't own a car, this amounts to a subsidy to those that do. I look forward to my council tax being reduced should this go ahead. Of course, the notice of that reduction will be delived by Avian Porcine Delivery Services.

  61. Alistair Burns

    Road Tax? We All Pay For The Roads

    Sad to see so many people here bandying the term "road tax" despite it having been phased out in 1937. The little disc in your car is Vehicle Excise Duty and the proceeds go into the general tax pot. The cost of roads is greater than the income from vehicle excise duty and is funded from income tax and council tax. Paying for your tax disc has no associated ownership of the roads, people with no car subsidise the roads for drivers.

  62. Ball boy Silver badge

    Road Transport Lobby

    This one comes out time and again but it's never really taken off - mainly, I suspect, because we have a VERY powerful RTL in the UK (compare the inflationary costs of rail vs. road transport). While the underlying idea has appeal - someone mentioned earlier that the average user would think they'd save money and that's certainly how it'd be pitched to us - in practice, the road lobby would be up in arms: haulage, food, the car industry. All these employ people & there'd be quiet words spoken about the number of unemployed that'd result if national road charging ever came to pass.

    There's also the technology: we're still fiddling about trying to get the firearms database up and running - something that was on the recommendations after Hungerford (a mere 23 years ago) and we've abandoned the NHS IT program because of cost over-runs - and that would have considerably less complexity than a national traffic database.

    So: lobby and technology barriers, high investment without hope of a return within the commisioning government's lifetime? I'd say this is a non-starter.

    1. AD 4

      Powerful road lobby?

      Do we really have a powerful lobby for road transport? Taxes on road transport continually go up while subsidies from government to rail and buses go up.

      The deflation in car running costs has come from improvements in reliability and fuel economy, and the inflation in rail costs comes from it being a labour-intensive industry and the extra safety regulations that need to be adhered to. There is not much difference that lobbying can make to these factors.

  63. Ned Fowden

    pointless discussion

    @stuart 22 ... you got it right in one, it's a shame no-one else seems to have seen it

    Taxing fuel (petroleum based) is inevitably pointless as more and more cars are being developed that don't rely (solely) on this, therefore the Govt. will be unlikely to go down the route of abolishing another form of taxation that currently gives more control over who they charge for road usage.

    more likely, is that they will find a way to do both, raise fuel taxes and road usage

    personally, i am in favour of the current system, although i think the sliding scale of charges for road tax should have a greater range

  64. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    I am reminded of the episode of Yes, Minister

    Where Sir Humphrey demonstrates to Bernard how to get whichever answer to a questionnaire you want, by asking leading questions.

  65. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse


    "Over four in five adults thought that congestion was a serious problem"

    So that's... five then right?

  66. Mike 121

    Won't change anything...

    Thing is don't they realise this will do hardly anything for congestion as the reason why it's busy at 7am to 9am or 5pm to 7pm is the majority of people start/finish work at these times!

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Isn't this really about justifing ANPR

    This is about spying on all of us, all of the time - tracking road usage through ANPR.

    Wasting even more money on ANPR to spy on us, and leaving the info in the hands on NPIA (biggest money pit in the UK) which is controlled by ACPO - (a limited company).

    It smells very bad indeed to me

  68. DavCrav

    Can't see anyone else mentioning this

    but I haven't looked too closely.

    What about the horrific cost of setting up a road pricing scheme? It will *have* to cost motorists an awful lot more to drive, to pay for the massive cost of the (no doubt completely inaccurate and insecure) database and computer system used for this?

    Ah, we have to find a reason for the existence of the Galileo satellite network. Right.

  69. Livinglegend
    Dead Vulture

    Just another con

    When the M6 Toll opened it needed 72,000 vehicles per month, mixed traffic, to break even. Currently it has 41,000 per month, mainly cars, and operates at a colossal loss. The only way it can continue to stay open is that the government pours money into it with 'research grants' from the MfT. This press release is just another little drip from to con the peasants out of their taxes and to prop up lame ideas.

    Anyone who believes that pay-per-mile works to the benefit of drivers is deluded. This is just another EU based plan to subjugate us into poverty, the idea came from the gravy train, unnecessary jobsworths of the the Germany/France alliance.

    Don't be misled by the juggled figures or expect to pay less for using the roads. This government wants to privatise them and sell off what YOU own, that is their game, just look at the huge rises in the cost of train tickets to see the future of pay-per-mile.

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FFS - Priorities, priorities


    Spot on PIGGY and TAZZY:

    "They should be forced to invest some of those obscene profits in the network".

    And accept the fact that Public Transport NEEDS subsidy, but gives "unmeasurable" benefits.

    e.g. you know you will at work on time, you know you won't be late for that meeting.

    Book a flight to Switzerland and check it out - there, both sides of the Political Divide, left and right agree on this.

  71. gimbal

    Speaking more as a sometime fan of legal-ese literature, and sometime toll-road driver

    There's something fishy in this, and none too objective: "Whether they would be prepared to accept road pricing as long as there was no overall increase in the amount paid by motorists as a whole". It appears, to me, that such would be a leading question.

    What on earth is "the amount paid by motorists as a whole" supposed to mean? and by whose reckoning, then?

    In my blatantly subjective response: Suggesting as if no more money was going to be spent by individual motorists, in asking whether motorists would like to spend more money, it makes no sense to me, but I can see that it's a trick that some might not be caught to notice.

    Speaking pragmatically, about toll roads: Here in the states, I've driven through some of Chicago, where toll roads are a very common occurrence. They've set up some sort of probably-RFID-based architecture, where motorists who have the appropriate equipment can just slide right on through the toll booth, and other motorists must slow and either pull a ticket at the start of the extent of the toll region, or pay the fee, at the end of the extent. It's mildly obnoxious, and lead me to instruct my GPS mapper to use the "avoid highways" option - I'm not even sure how they've managed to put city-local toll booths on an interstate highway, but it's obviously been in place for a while.

    If they're going to put in more toll booths in the UK, using fishy survey questions to excuse it by is only a waste of time and *more* money. I wish, for the sake of our friends not in government on the big island, that our friends in government on the big island would be simply more straightforward.

  72. Anonymous Coward

    Did anybody actually read the report ?

    Obviously not or you would have noticed this bit on page 21

    5.17 The respondents were also asked to think about how a new scheme would

    impact on them personally. The results of this are shown in Chart 24

    top answer on chart 24 with 29% was...'It doesn't apply to me / I don't drive'

    so it's a load of bollix then.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Uh-huh baby?

    It reads like:

    How to keep your ministerial colleagues happy initiative from Whitehall (overseas readers: that is the arm of non-elected (un)civil servants here in the UK).

    Probably sold as: hey! here is a new funding stream! Aren't we clever?

    But really means: Ooo 'eck! Our pension pot is running empty - so we'd better had get some more dosh in quickly! Quickly! Identify other income streams on basis of why charge UK public once when you can charge them several times?

  74. Roger Mew

    Why pay these ways.

    Lookit, if new cars had a 10% charge whacked on them, you need not so many silly pillox in Swansea, LVO's could be scrapped, the poorer person who is lumped with an old gas guzzler doing little mileage is not slammed, there is less work for the gendarmerie to do with their stupid tax collecting and the original buyer gets his money back sort of as he is investing in futures, ie RFT bought for the next few years. Rich gits with a Roller pay £10,000 instead of £4.5 Lambourghini pay a staggering £30,000. The government win also as the money is now, not in dribs and drabs, also less legislation and annual increases, its still 10%.

    No I am afraid scrap the annual cons and get the rich to pay. Further, why do motorbikes pay more than a small car. You have to realise its conning the punter.

    Oh, incidentally, I pay no RFT on my bike, or any of my vehicles, why? I now live in France.

    Another con is the MOT. The EC have said that once every two years is adequate now and should be scrapped on motorbikes. The UK have done neither.

    Incidentally, if one asked six million people if they would rather have a vasectomy or their balls shot off, non would opt for the latter, that does NOT indicate that 6 million want a vasectomy.

  75. John Munyard

    Who's kidding

    Let's face it, if a DFT commissioned survey, with a tilted question to include the carrot of cost neutrality, produces responses of 38% for and 34% against, that's hardly a resounding endorsement is it? And despite the spin that's not "half of all motorists" either.

    The government may have changed, but the civil service at the DfT and all those government funded lobby groups (Brake, Campaign for better Transport, Transport for London) are still out to fork the motorist any way they can.

  76. Steve 114


    Transport's not my sector, but Brussels is. Are we sure that there is not some strategy there which *compels* governments to require location-aware electronics in cars? (already happened with 'On Board Diagnostics', which isn't for your servicing convenience, but so that they can police emissions). So maybe the 'Softening- up' is being done in the knowledge that Britain will eventually have no choice. Picture of Eurocrat stealing sovereignty by stealth.

  77. Cunningly Linguistic

    One thing is guaranteed.

    Whichever scheme is adopted will indubitably involve the motorist paying even more for car travel.

  78. Starkadder

    Are They Crazy?

    I cannot believe anyone would support this. Regardless of what one anonymous coward has posted there are seldom practical alternatives to the car in rural areas. I live less than 100 miles from London, and my nearest railway station is over 12 miles away (and it costs over £5 a day to park there). Bus services, where they exist, are sparse.

    The strongest arguments against road pricing are these:

    1. Despite what the government says, the income will not be used for roads but will gradually be absorbed into the Treasury's piggy bank, and then used for whatever purpose the government of the day thinks fit. It has always been thus. The only way round this would be to have something like the system in California where, for example, 40% of the State's tax revenue must be spent on education. I don't see that happening here.

    2. The civil liberties aspects of road charging are unavoidable. We are trying to roll back the ACPO's entirely unauthorised and probably illegal countrywide ANPR system, not extend it. The last thing we want is all our journeys fed into a government spy network and used for state surveillance.

    3. Collecting taxes at the pump makes sure we all pay as we drive, and foreign drivers get to pay as well. It is simple to collect and administer and it does not require spying on our citizens. It does mean that rural drivers (who earn less than city dwellers, and get fewer government handouts, Mr. Anonymous Coward) will pay more, but that may be the price we pay for keeping some semblance of freedom.

  79. fortheloveofgod


    "survey of public attitudes"

    Sorry but I have never heard of it until now. What consultation? How many were consulted, when and where?

This topic is closed for new posts.