Drivers have “serious concerns” about the Government’s plans for England’s main roads, according to the results of a poll carried out for the Association of British Drivers (ABD).
The poll of more than 1,500 drivers, carried out by Opinium Research, included questions about the possible introduction of road tolls and plans to turn the Highways Agency into a Government-owned company.
64% of respondents agreed that if they had to pay tolls on roads that are currently free, it would affect their standard of living; and 77% said they would change their journey to use an untolled road, even if it might be less suitable.
64% of respondents said they have “concerns about their private journeys being recorded by a new roads management company”, and 53% do not want ministers to “offload responsibilities” for main roads to such a company.
Nigel Humphries, ABD spokesman, said: "It would be politically unacceptable for the Government to privatise our roads and bring in a national road pricing scheme in one go.
“Nonetheless the Government has overwhelmingly accepted the Cook Report on changes to the way our main roads are run, including sweating the maximum return out of them and consideration of road tolls. It is now planning to replace the Highways Agency, the government department in charge of these roads, with a company, at first state-owned.”
The ABD goes on to say that the new Infrastructure Bill could result in roads being “carved-up to a number of outsourcing companies, who will be out to make a profit”.
Brian Gregory, ABD founder-chairman, said: “I call on John Hayes, the new minister in charge of the Highways Agency and our main roads, to take an axe to these muddled proposals that will leave millions of drivers worse off.
“Instead, he should focus on giving drivers the roads we’ve paid for several times in advance."