Arrogant MP didn’t listen to petition
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.