Ar­ro­gant MP didn’t lis­ten to pe­ti­tion

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION -

IS DR Steve Ladyman MP try­ing to de­ceive him­self as well as the rest of us by sug­gest­ing that once road charg­ing has been im­posed we’ll (nearly) all “love it”? (March 1). What an ar­ro­gant, in­tran­si­gent re­ac­tion to the No 10. pe­ti­tion. Road pric­ing or con­ges­tion charg­ing is noth­ing but an un­wanted and un-needed throw­back to the 18th and 19th cen­turies – a hi-tech ver­sion of turn­pikes and tolls. Ex­ist­ing rates of fuel taxes and Ve­hi­cle Ex­cise Duty (road tax) al­ready pro­vide fairer and sim­pler meth­ods of rev­enue rais­ing for trans­port in­fra­struc­ture, with those driv­ing fur­thest in the largest ve­hi­cles pay­ing the most. They are rais­ing about £885 mil­lion a week – that’s £5.25 mil­lion per hour – with only about 14 pence in ev­ery pound go­ing back into roads. There is there­fore more than enough money in the pot to build and im­prove

roads (rail­ways too) and cut con­ges­tion. Most peo­ple have lit­tle or no choice over when and where they travel (eg: for work) and could face po­ten­tially crip­pling charges. Ian Tay­lor, As­so­ci­a­tion of Bri­tish Driv­ers (Kent branch), Castle­mount Road, Dover.

THE re­cent pub­lic de­bate on road pric­ing seems to have fired up some very hard words and re­ac­tions, mostly hos­tile to the idea. But no­body should deny the ex­tent of the prob­lem. Roads con­ges­tion gen­er­ates longer than nec­es­sary jour­ney times, un­re­li­able de­liv­er­ies and is a mas­sive waste of time and money for in­dus­try, wast­ing mil­lions of man hours and bil­lions of pounds ev­ery year. It is prob­a­bly the most se­ri­ous prob­lem that UK in­dus­try has to con­tend with. The freight trans­port as­so­ci­a­tion says that road pric­ing should, ul­ti­mately, be used to de­mand-man­age valu­able road space by price. How­ever, the FTA also says that this can only come af­ter a whole raft of other ac­tions have been taken. We need more road build­ing, mo­tor­way widen­ing, night de­liv­er­ies, changed school hours, home work­ing and many other ideas to spread out, or even re­duce, the traf­fic load on our roads. For in­dus­try, the key test for road pric­ing will be whether it de­liv­ers value for money. In­dus­try, and per­haps many other road users, will not mind pay­ing, say, a £5 fee if the re­sult is £6 of value for the saved time and trou­ble. If, how­ever, we pay £5 and get only £4 of value then the plan will be re­jected by both goods ve­hi­cle op­er­a­tors and the pub­lic.

�� Gor­don Telling, head of pol­icy, Lon­don, South East and East of Eng­land Freight Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.