Feeds

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

'Trojan horse'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.