Govt stands firm on road pricing

More than a million Britons have signed a petition calling for an end to proposed schemes to charge people according to how far they drive.

But transport secretary Douglas Alexander has stood firm, saying “doing nothing isn’t a solution” to growing congestion and pollution problems.

The government is considering plans to charge motorists according to how far as well as where and when they drive, rather than a flat road tax fee as is currently the case.

However, this plan is controversial – with fears over the privacy implications of the government monitoring exactly where and when people drive.

A petition on the Downing Street website calling for plans to be scrapped has now been signed by more than a 1.1 million British residents. This is 20 times as many signatures as the next most popular petition (to scrap inheritance tax).

“We the undersigned petition the prime minister to scrap the planned vehicle tracking and road pricing policy,” the petition submitted by Peter Roberts from Telford, Shropshire, reads.

“The idea of tracking every vehicle at all times is sinister and wrong. Road pricing is already here with the high level of taxation on fuel. The more you travel – the more tax you pay.

“It will be an unfair tax on those who live apart from families and poorer people who will not be able to afford the high monthly costs.

“Please Mr Blair – forget about road pricing and concentrate on improving our roads to reduce congestion.”

But the government is standing firm on the issue, which it sees as an effective measure for reducing pollution and congestion.

“Doing nothing isn’t a solution to solving the problems on Britain’s roads,” the transport secretary said.

“Ultimately, it will be a matter for parliament to make decisions but it is important that people have the chance to have their say and no doubt people will offer a range of opinions during that debate,” Mr Alexander told the BBC.