Motorists doubt road pricing system

The vast majority of motorists say the government cannot be trusted to deliver a fair road pricing system, a poll suggests.

A survey of 17,500 AA members highlights the problems facing Gordon Brown’s government in introducing the new measures, though 42 per cent backed the idea in principle.

The government has spoken of plans to encourage local authorities to introduce local congestion charging schemes by offering increased funding via the Transport Innovation Fund.

The new scheme is being actively followed by cities such as Manchester and Cambridge but there is considerable opposition elsewhere.

In today’s survey, 45 per cent of those questioned were in opposition to the principle of ‘pay as you go’ when it came to driving, while 42 per cent were in favour.

Of those against the idea, 32 per cent were strongly opposed, compared to the 15 per cent strongly in favour.

Local road pricing schemes received even less support in the survey, with 51 per cent of people claiming they were against the idea, with the north east of England showing the highest level of opposition at 72 per cent.

In London, which already has congestion charging, 68 per cent of those questioned were against it.

The main objection to motorway polls or congestion charging is that 86 per cent of the AA motorists would not trust the government to keep its word if they had offered reductions in fuel duty or road tax upon the introduction of road pricing.

President of the AA, Edmund King, commented on the survey’s findings, saying: “When we have clearer proposals on road pricing from the government we will go back to our panel.

“Currently there seems to be no great appetite for local road pricing eventhough just over 40 per cent support the principle of pay as you go. There is a wide reality gap between the principle and the practical aspects of road pricing.

“Road pricing is unnecessary on most roads, unpopular and difficult to implement socially, politically, financially and practically.”