What is road pricing?

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Road pricing is used in many countries around the world but has been largely rejected in the UK.

Here the PA news agency answers eight key questions on the issue.

– What is road pricing?

Road pricing involves charging drivers based on how often and when they use roads.

– Where is road pricing used?

London’s congestion charge is a form of road pricing, with drivers paying a £15 daily fee to enter the centre of the capital between 7am and 10pm.

The Congestion Charge is a form of road pricing in central London (Ian Nicholson/PA)
The Congestion Charge is a form of road pricing in central London (Ian Nicholson/PA)

– How do we currently pay for roads in the UK?

Road maintenance and improvements are funded by general taxation.

There is no direct link between investment and the amount of money raised through fuel duty and Vehicle Excise Duty, which is also known as car tax.

Advocates of road pricing say it can slash traffic jams by charging drivers less if they cut down their overall mileage or drive on quieter roads at off-peak times.

– How much congestion is there on UK roads?

Road commuters lost an average of 115 hours stuck in traffic in 2019, according to new research by traffic analyst Inrix.

This cost the country £6.9 billion and a typical driver £894.

– Have ministers considered introducing road pricing before?

The Department for Transport published a feasibility study into road pricing in 2004, but plans were not implemented.

– Why could the development of electric cars lead to road pricing?

The switch from petrol and diesel cars to electric models will slash the amount of money made from fuel duty, which stands at £28 billion a year.

– What are the arguments against road pricing?

Opponents of road pricing have compared it to the Poll Tax, which led to riots in 1990.

In 2006 some 1.8 million people signed a petition calling for road pricing to be rejected because of how much tax drivers already paid and the privacy implications of tracking vehicles.

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