Road pricing back on the agenda

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Sir Rod Eddington has called for the introduction of a road user charging scheme in his study: Transport’s role in sustaining UK’s Productivity and Competitiveness: The Case for Action.

He argued that, provided it was well targeted, a national road pricing scheme could reduce congestion by some 50 per cent below what it otherwise would be in 2025 and reduce the economic case for additional strategic road infrastructure by some 80 per cent.

“Benefits could total £28 billion a year in 2025, including £15 billion worth of GDP benefits. While firm estimates of the costs of such a scheme are not developed at this stage, those costs would have to be extremely high to outweigh benefits on this scale.”

Speaking at the launch of the report, Eddington said: “Economic growth drives transport demand. This creates both opportunities and challenges – including its impact on the environment. Government and the private sector will need to show considerable foresight to deliver a transport system capable of supporting the continued success of the UK economy, able to continue to compete globally and meeting its environmental challenges.”

The report was commissioned by the chancellor and the secretary of state for transport in the 2005 budget. Eddington’s brief was to advise the government on the long-term links between transport and the UK’s economic productivity, growth and stability, within the context of the Government’s commitment to sustainable development and the environment.

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