FTA warning on London road pricing plan

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The Freight Transport Association has warned that a proposal by the London Assembly to replace the Congestion Charge with a road pricing scheme would be complex and costly.

Christopher Snelling, the association’s head of national & regional policy and public affairs, said that he was concerned about the complexity of a road pricing scheme, as well as the cost impact on London’s businesses and freight transport operators.

The report, “London Stalling” calls for the Mayor of London to reform the Congestion Charge and replace it with road pricing. In the report, The London Assembly suggests a way to charge people for road usage in areas of congestion, at the times that congestion occurs.

The association said that a road-pricing scheme should target those who had a choice to use London’s roads.

“The Assembly surveyed car drivers to see if they would change behaviour but not commercial operators. Unlike car drivers, we don’t operate at a time of our choosing but respond to customers’ requirements – i.e. the needs of London’s businesses,” said Snelling. “If road pricing is not just to be a tax on London it needs to focus on those who have an alternative – mainly the car or taxi user.

“Water, rail and cycle logistics can all play a useful role in places but even used to the maximum it does not change the fact that the vast majority of deliveries in London will be made by vans and lorries,” he said.”

The FTA said that the freight industry delivers around 400,000 tonnes of goods in London every day, and that each minute added to a journey costs £1. The association said that has submitted evidence for the report.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, chair of the London Assembly transport committee said: “Something dramatic has to be done about the enormous congestion problem on London’s roads. The issue is costing our city money and costing Londoners their health and wellbeing. Transport for London (TfL) is doing a lot to tackle congestion, but not enough. Road pricing would be a fairer approach, as road users would pay according to how much they contribute to congestion.”

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