Motorists still sceptical over road pricingMany believe it’s not the answer to congestion

29 November 2006

 

Cars in a traffic jam

Most motorists don't believe that road pricing will sort out the problem of Britain’s heavily congested roads, a new poll has revealed.

But the report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has found the public is in favour of making people who drive more, pay more.

Although 90 per cent of people polled see congestion as a serious problem, fewer than 40 per cent reckon road pricing is the answer.

The report said motorists had a number of objections to road pricing.

Motoring tax

These included worries that it would be ineffective and that it would act as another tax on drivers. There is also a feeling that improving public transport was a more effective solution.

But the research also showed that the public support the underlying principle of road pricing, with 62 per cent agreeing that it is fair that you should pay more the more you drive.

The report said that if concerns were addressed, the public could be persuaded to support road pricing.

IPPR Deputy Director Ian Kearns said: ‘There is widespread acceptance that Britain's congested roads are an increasing problem and a radical solution is needed. A national road pricing scheme is that radical solution.

‘People agree that you should pay more the more you drive but are yet to be convinced by road pricing. To build support for a national road pricing scheme the government must address people's concerns about how a scheme would work, how any money raised would be spent and how privacy will be protected. The government must also continue to improve public transport as an alternative to the car.’

Road pricing

Edmund King, Executive Director of the RAC Foundation, said: ‘It is not really surprising that most motorists do not support road pricing. Most turkeys probably wouldn't support Christmas unless they knew there was something in it for them other than a roasting.

‘Motorists need to know how any scheme would work and what is in it for them before they could be expected to support such a policy.

‘If the motorist is to be won over, government needs to demonstrate that pricing will be part of the solution to their needs, along with investment to make the roads better and safer, and not just another means to raise money and price them off the roads.’