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Well Grayling is half right.
You cannot have a local scheme, as we will end up with the same sorry sad effect in some roads as we have with rates. you will pay to go one way but not the other.
The other effect will be for left wing councils to introduce road pricing as a revenue raising exercise and a political gesture against the middle classes and those they perceive as having more, the class envy and jealousy.

I can't see any reason not to have local schemes - not sure I understand Mr Hinton's point...

And if left-wing councils want to hammer their residents then the residents will just have to vote the council out at the next election!

This assumes local councils will actually listen to local opinion. In my experience they don't. Give me a choice between congestion and road pricing and I will choose the former.

Give me a choice between gridlock and road pricing and I will choose the latter

The Proposed draft East of England plan contains this policy:
"Policy: T3 Managing Traffic Demand
Demand management measures for highway use should be pursued to tackle congestion and provide more reliable journeys. Road pricing should be considered as part of an integrated approach to manage the region’s road network in a sustainable way and should be consistent with any national technical standards and guidelines. Road pricing schemes or other demand management measures within the region should:
• be matched with provision of sustainable alternatives to private vehicle use, where practicable; and
• be designed so as to avoid disadvantaging the region’s rural communities and other regeneration areas dependent on road access, where practicable."

I love the "where practicable" get out clauses

Road pricing is being impleneted on a regioanl basis by the Government Offices in the regions (e.g GO-East) and the Regional Assemblies (EERA)

The plan is out for consultation until March 9th

I agree with the localism agenda, and therefore the right for councils to set congestion charges. I can see a situation where Labour councils will use it as a revenue raising tool. If this affects business and annoys the locals, then hopefully, they'll get voted out.

There seems to be a common thread running a couple of policy debates at the moment, particularly on ID cards and road pricing. I would say the majority of Tories are against them on grounds civil liberty, but the issues of cost have much greater traction with the public.

I see massive value in campaigning on cost grounds, but I worry that this can be undermined slightly by Labour deciding it will fund programmes wholly out of general taxation, which means people don't notice the cost so much. This does nothing to assauge the civil libs concerns of course!

There needs to be some way of pulling all of Labour's encroaching and costly policies together and demonstrating a narrative.

We need to get to the stage that if you asked the average voter, "If Labour brings in a new policy, X, tomorrow will it be authoritarian and costly to the individual or lovely and fluffy and cheap?"

We may already be there, but greater minds than mine should be cementing that.

If I recall correctly we already have an efficient taxation method for road use. It’s called the tax on fuel.

The critical issue is as ever a real lack of political will. If time were spent focusing on removing the 1 in 20 cars on the road that are neither taxed or insured then based on the estimate of 32 million cars this would eliminate 1.6 million vehicles. That's a lot of carbon.

These powers already exist but are not utilised with any real vigour. At the risk of being crude it’s about time our politicians developed some 'balls' and got on with it. Instead of focusing on the law abiding people tackle those who flout the laws. Crush their cars, and make them pay for the privilege.

Encourage people to use public transport by having some that are reliable, and cost effective. £3 for a return trip on the bus to cover 3 miles is not cost effective nor does it encourage its use.

Finally, whilst not exactly popular, there is always the option of increasing the price of fuel to £2 a litre, which would of course reduce the volume of traffic on the road.

Could crush all cars over 15 years old unless they can prove to be a classic car. That would get rid of some carbon.

This isn't about congestion; this is just another means of Gordon trying to raise taxes. Thankfully, most people have seen through him.

Local schemes are too confusing for visiting drivers – i.e. people bringing outside business to the area. On the rare occasions that I’d like to take my car into London I am deterred not by the cost, but by the agro of finding out what and how I pay to enter.

Whilst I believe road pricing on roads which already exist, and for which we have paid is a non starter, I cannot dismiss local schemes which are clearly desired by the people of a particular town.

The only criteria must be that a local referendum is taken which covers the greater district of the town proposing the charge, thus ensuring all affected residents are involved in the decision making process. This would be unlike the London scheme where the vast majority voted against the western extension and yet Red Ken decided to do it anyway.

“If we do nothing there will be gridlock” is just government spin and propaganda designed to frighten people into supporting their “big idea”.

For a start, the birth-rate is slightly lower than needed to sustain the status quo and the only increase in the UK population will be from immigration into the UK. This can be easily controlled with a little political will.

We have at present a “bubble” of people who were born in the baby boom of the sixties who are ageing and will not be driving in 25 years, so the number of drivers will most likely fall anyway.

Congestion is always self regulating. Nobody makes a deliberate decision to go and sit in “gridlock” and will avoid travelling if this is a situation in which they find themselves. Nowhere in the world is true gridlock a problem unless something outside the normal routine causes a temporary situation.

National road pricing and surveillance is a typical socialist “big idea” which in practical terms is hugely expensive, intrusive into people’s lives and clearly unwanted by the vast majority of the population. The Conservatives need to put as much distance as possible between themselves and this extreme socialist ideal.

Allow local schemes, but insist on referendums first.

I doubt we will get many 'yes' votes.

"Allow local schemes, but insist on referendums first."

An excellent idea but one which will not be popular amongst councillors. I suspect that if they gave the residents a referendum on everything there'd be fewer speed bumps, mini roundabouts, housing developments and other irritants.

I was in a taxi in Central London today and asked the driver if either the old or the new Congestion Charge had made any difference to the amount of traffic. His reply was that both had for a very brief period, then things went back to normal.

He also added that Livingstone's changes to Trafalgar Square had produced a nightmare. He then informed me that his home Council (Bexley) had recently turned Conservative and had done away with some much-hated traffic lanes introduced by Labour, so altogether, although he had always voted Labour, he was now seriously considering voting Conservative.

Reader, I tipped him!

Compared to equivalent European economies the UK is seriously under-provided with motorways and trunk-roads. The only real answer to road-congestion is road-building.

As to how you fund this, well for a start I'd really like much more of the money currently raised from existing motoring-taxes spent on actually improving the road network rather than seeing it siphoned-off by the Treasury to fund other projects. Imposing yet more taxes on drivers through "road pricing" is a non-starter, unless balanced by massive cuts in Vehicle Excise Duty and petrol/diesel taxes.

"I drive - and I vote".

2 million signed the Downing Street anti-road-pricing petition; we're a significant activist-lobby who dwarf the total membership of the major political parties.

Well said Chris Grayling, but still a pity this article did not have wider coverage on a nationwide basis - it's not even on the party's official site!

Still, here's a chance for you to steal a march on David Davis if you have the courage. If you gave notice now to all concerned that RPVT (if I may use the abbreviation in my policy submission elsewhere on the site today - excuse gratuitous plug) will be immediately scrapped in the event of our winning the next GE, you might be in a position to strangle a hideous socialist policy at birth rather than in its infancy.

Sorry for a long posting but:
The problem is the conflating of road pricing & greeness. Road pricing does nothing to reduce greenhouse gases. In fact it could increase them. If fuel duty & car taxes are reduced to counter the road pricing/congestion charges then I'm more likely to drive an inefficient, polluting vehicle because its no more expensive than driving an Prius (forget the power generated pollution).

Road pricing is about the state rationing road space rather than providing it to meet demand. I would contend that congestion is self governing - gridlock isn't supportable and people will eventually change their habits. In fact before "rat runs" were destroyed with humps & traffic calming measures that was happening, the volumes of traffic were dispersing to alternative routes. I always used to take an alternative route into/out of Salisbury to get to the Station to miss the traffic - now its been narrowed, has traffic calming and so takes nearly as long. The imposition of extended 30, 40 or 50 MPH limits on many A roads tends to move people to the trunk roads without these limits - congesting these (there's a long stretch near me where limit has come down from 60 to 30 in three years so I now use a longer but faster route). For a quick trip to Bath or Bristol I'd nearly always take the train because congestion & parking are so bad (unless I'm going to Ikea of course)

The only tax that delivers both a cost of use based on mileage and a reduction in greenhouse gases is fuel duty. I don't like paying huge fuel bills but if the petrol price doubled again a diesel or small car doing twice the mileage I currently get would look very attractive or if I wanted to continue enjoying driving fast cars I'd have to do less miles (and the train would be much more attractive).

Noooooooooooooooooo! What this country needs is considered road building and more investment in the public transport infrastructure.

I don't drive but I am trying to understand the frustrations faced by drivers; but I do have problems with the viewpoint that public transport cannot replace some of the car journeys that take place today.

There is not one answer to congestion, however making public transport more attractive has to be one of them.

The only tax that delivers both a cost of use based on mileage and a reduction in greenhouse gases is fuel duty. I don't like paying huge fuel bills but if the petrol price doubled again a diesel or small car doing twice the mileage I currently get would look very attractive or if I wanted to continue enjoying driving fast cars I'd have to do less miles

The problem is doubling fuel duty would really, really hurt a lot of poor (and lower middle) income families who need their cars for work (due to where their employer is based) and to visit family. Generally speaking the need to drive a car is very poorly correlated with income.

Along with VAT on heating the fuel duty esclator was one of the reasons you lost 'mondeo man' in 1997

Just out of interest, Ted, if you want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions why don't you switch to a smaller car anyway, even if you don't need the cash saving? There is nothing that says you *have* to drive the biggest, fastest car you can afford (nothing personal, and you are far from the only one :D )

An excellent piece from Chris Grayling! There may be a case for road-charging at certain times and for certain routes, yes, but should we have the "spy in the sky" recording where we have been - NO! Technology, and any system that records on a computer database where we have been is unacceptable, and would be another intrusion by Big Brother State, in addition to ID cards. More surveillance society. More repression and control of the law-abiding. Another example of left-wing authoritarianism, which represses the innocent (as opposed to right-wing authoritarianism, which is tough on the criminal).

If road pricing cannot be achieved without tracking our movements, then we shouldn’t have it at all. Anyhow the real answer to road congestion is a cheap, efficient, fast competitive public transport alternative. This must include electrification of all railways, which would provide the added bonus of helping us to be energy-sufficient, less dependent on fuel imports.

Road-pricing is also of course another stealth-tax, as Mr Grayling says. Just as the Government forcing train companies to pay the Treasury huge premiums are a stealth tax on rail passengers who are facing fare rises to pay for these payments (in addition to cuts in services as in the case of the Great Western fiasco).

As for Mr Grayling, there was speculation in the press at the weekend he might be promoted in a shadow-cabinet reshuffle once Mr Brown gets into No.10. I’m sure he deserves promotion, but it would be a shame if he were to lose the transport brief as he seems to have been moving our transport policy on from the traditional bias towards roads to a more a balanced policy to enable all transport modes fulfil their full potential role.

What far too many road pricing enthusiasts convieniently choose to forget is that a considerable amount of the current traffic congestion has been deliberately caused by Labour "local government units" and their "traffic restraint schemes". Being believers in self fulfilling prophecies anti car demagogues, like Mayor Livingstone and most Labour Councils in London, have spent vast amounts of our money on actively causing congestion, by means of messing with traffic light phasing and stealing road space from cars, so that they can then claim that there is a major congestion problem that can only be dealt with by the imposition of stealth taxes of one sort or another. It is a shame that some Conservatives seem to have fallen for this cynical and dishonest manouvre.

Another Conservative scam. Chris Grayling must know that road pricing is part of EU policy. This is just another Tory attempt to pull the wool over peoples eyes by trying to deceive them that we have got any say at all in this country. If the Tories get in at the next election they will HAVE to introduce road pricing as well. The only alternative if you dont agree with this policy is to vote UKIP and get Britain out of the EU!

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