RAC body calls for road-charging

  • RAC Foundation calls for 'pay-as-you-drive' plan
  • Claims it will reduce congestion in England
  • Must be done in conjection with fuel duty and road tax cuts

Company car drivers face the prospect of 'pay-as-you-go' driving if England is to avoid traffic gridlock, according to the RAC Foundation.

Its report states that a form of road charging must be implemented to keep the country's roads running freely, adding that its implementation 'seems inevitable'.

Professor Stephen Glaister, a director of the foundation and author of the report, said:'In terms of keeping the country moving we are almost at the end of the road.

'The population is rising and traffic is forecast to grow, too. Something needs to be done, and at the moment nothing is.'

According to RAC Foundation figures, traffic will increase by 33% by 2025 due to population growth and economic recovery.

He believes that a long-term solution is to make the running of the road network more arm's length from the government, and to introduce a 'pay-as-you-go' system.

Doing this, he believes, would change driver behaviour and reduce congestion by cutting unnecessary journeys.

However, along with the implementation of road pricing, Glaister believes there should be a cut in fuel duty and road tax, a governing body to develop a long-term transport strategy, a guaranteed sum of money put aside for maintaining the road network, and a regulator to make sure the work is done efficiently.

The report coincides with an Ipsos MORI poll which reveals that 46% of people support a road charging system on motorways and major roads so long as road tax is abolished and fuel duty is cut.

The same survey found more than half (58%) of people felt road charging would make them think about how much they drive.

Glaister added: 'Motorists are resentful of the relentless rise in the cost of fuel and feel short-changed by the amount spent on the road network. These proposals address such issues.'