Government considers two-tier road tax plan

12.00 | 31 October 2012 | | 1 comment

Drivers who use motorways and major A-roads could be charged a higher rate of road tax than those who stick to other routes (Sky News).

According to Sky News, motorists face a two-tier road tax under proposals being considered by the Government. Under the system drivers could pay a lower rate of tax if they agree not to use the country’s trunk road network of motorways and major A-roads. Those paying a higher rate of vehicle excise duty would be free to use any roads.

A network of automatic number-plate recognition cameras could be used to catch drivers using the motorways without paying the higher rate.

A DfT spokesperson said: “The Department and Treasury are carrying out a feasibility study to review new ownership and financing models for the strategic road network. This (study) is looking at how best we can secure investment in the network to increase capacity and boost economic growth.”

The AA has come out against the move. Paul Watters, spokesperson, said: “This would create a two-tier system on Britain’s roads, which would push many drivers away from trunk roads and into towns and villages where congestion would increase.

“Governments keep coming back to the idea of charging motorists for the roads they use, but the costs of implementing such a scheme would be huge.”

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said that a scheme could work if proceeds were used to improve the road network.

He said: “Ministers would go a long way to restoring trust among drivers if the proceeds were ring-fenced and ploughed back into road provision.”

Dr Richard Wellings, head of transport at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said the road network had been "neglected" by successive governments.

He said: “For too long British drivers have had to pay over the odds for a road network that is simply not up to scratch. It is lamentable that this vital area of infrastructure has been neglected by government after government.”

Click here to read the full Sky News report.


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    From a road safety perspective it cannot be a positive step when fiscal policy delivers a tax on safer driving. Dissuading motorists from using the roads with the highest design standards and best safety record seems absurd.
    I guess in the end, if traffic ends up being diverted to the roads where casualty rates are higher, the market will balance itself out as ‘premium drivers’ who pay to use the higher standard roads with reduced risk per mile are likely to receive more favourably priced insurance policies.

    Dan Campsall, Banbury
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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