Feeds

Pay-as-you-drive roads coming to the UK

'Trojan horse'

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Controversial plans by the UK government to introduce road pricing are to go ahead, despite fierce opposition

The government has published a draft Bill laying the ground for local authorities to develop local pay-as-you-drive road charging across England and Wales.

Pilot road charging projects are already under way in 10 local authority areas, including Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridgeshire and Tyne and Wear, backed by the government's Transport Innovation Fund (Tif). So far £14m has been awarded by Tif.

A transport department spokesperson said the Bill, published today, did not mean that the government intended to press ahead with national road charging, however.

He told GC News: "We have made no decision about whether we want a national scheme. What we are doing is working with 10 local authorities who have come to us to express an interest in local schemes. And now we want to see what they come up with."

Last year a UK government-commissioned report by former British Airways chief Rod Eddington found that charging motorists to use roads was the only viable option, against a background of relentlessly rising congestion.

But there is widespread opposition to road charging among large sections of the public, as well as politicians and businesses.

Conservative transport spokesperson Chris Grayling said that despite the government's public denials, the Bill is a "Trojan horse" for national road pricing.

"It's now clear that Gordon Brown is as committed to the government's road pricing plans as Tony Blair has been, despite the petition signed by 1.8m people and official forecasts that such as scheme could cost up to £60bn.

"To make matters worse, they are blackmailing local authorities into being guinea pigs for road pricing so they don't have to take the flack themselves.

"Local road pricing schemes are fine, but only if they are originated locally and agreed locally. It is just plain wrong for ministers to interfere in the way they are doing."

The Federation of Small Businesses said the Government needs to re-think its plans before it does irreversible damage to British businesses. It called for a referendum in areas where schemes are proposed.

One of the world's largest road pricing projects is the central London's congestion charge. The scheme has cut congestion and pollution across the capital, as well as turning out to be a public sector IT success story. Capita, which works with Transport for London on the scheme, supplies the technology under a managed services contract.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
Don't even THINK about copyright violation, says Indian state
Pre-emptive arrest for pirates in Karnataka
The police are WRONG: Watching YouTube videos is NOT illegal
And our man Corfield is pretty bloody cross about it
Felony charges? Harsh! Alleged Anon hackers plead guilty to misdemeanours
US judge questions harsh sentence sought by prosecutors
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?