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Most drivers say no to toll roads

Thu, 31 Jul 2014

RADICAL Government proposals to privatise some roads in the UK and for companies to charge a toll have been rejected by drivers. Seventy-seven per cent of drivers say they would avoid toll roads and use another route to avoid paying to drive on a road.

The government is considering handing over the running of some roads to private companies as part of the Infrastructure Bill as recommended in the Cook Report. This could affect major roads in England such as the M25 and A1.

A survey by the Association of British Drivers also found that 64% of drivers believe tolls roads on routes that are currently free to use would adversely affect their standard of living. The same number also expressed concerns about their journeys being monitored by road management companies.

More than half (53%) of drivers in the UK say they do not want the government to offload the responsibility of maintaining and running vital road routes to private companies.

ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries said: ‘It would be politically unacceptable for the government to privatise our roads and bring in a national road pricing scheme in one go. Nonetheless the government has overwhelmingly accepted the Cook Report on changes to the way our main roads are run, including sweating the maximum return out of them and consideration of road tolls. It is now planning to replace the Highways Agency, the government department in charge of these roads, with a company, at first state-owned.

‘Many drivers are unaware of the new Infrastructure Bill, now being debated in Parliament. This could see the roads carved-up to a number of outsourcing companies, who will be out to make a profit. The Bill worryingly sets up powers to apply a toll.’

By Press Association reporters