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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

In the Fast Lane. Fair and effective road user charging in Britain

This report argues that raising congestion charges would be fair in the sense of making motorists pay for the costs they impose on society, including congestion, crashes, pollution, noise, and road wear.

The successes of the central London congestion charging scheme and the M6 toll road have changed the terms of the debate on road user charging in Britain. Edinburgh is planning a referendum on the introduction of a congestion charging scheme and other cities are contemplating their own. The government plans to introduce a distance charging scheme for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and has commissioned a feasibility study on a national road user charging scheme for cars and vans that is due to report this summer.

We commissioned computer modelling of the likely effects of congestion charging if it were introduced on all roads in England in 2010. Two scenarios were tested: a revenue neutral scheme in which there are offsetting cuts in fuel duty so that no extra revenue is raised overall, and revenue raising congestion charges levied in addition to fuel duty.

This report argues that raising congestion charges would be fair in the sense of making motorists pay for the costs they impose on society, including congestion, crashes, pollution, noise, and road wear.