Government rejects calls to relax local road charging rules

The Government has confirmed it has no intention of revising the Transport Innovation Fund to enable local authorities to invest in public transport improvements without congestion charging schemes.
A recent transport select committee report on road pricing recommended that the Government reconsider its approach to TIF on the grounds that no more than ‘a handful of local authorities’ will pursue congestion charging proposals in the near future.
The committee added: ‘Monies that were earmarked by HM Treasury for transport should not be lost to transport for want of a charging element in otherwise sound proposals.’
But in its response to the report, the Government dismissed the MPs’ concerns, saying: ‘While a number of local authorities continue assessing whether it is the right solution to their congestion problems, TIF remains available to support them.
‘Where local authorities decide congestion charging is not the answer to their congestion problems they will continue to receive significant transport investment through existing programmes.’
Ministers confirmed there were no immediate plans for a national road pricing system, but said the Department for Transport was working towards achieving interoperability of existing toll operations in England to prepare for a potential future system.
In addition, the Government proposes to develop guidance for local authorities considering the introduction of Workplace Parking Levy (WPL) schemes, ‘but has no plans to specify statutory requirements’ for local road user charging or WPL schemes’.
Nottingham City Council is to introduce a WPL scheme in 2012, with revenue to be earmarked for the city’s tram extension.

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