Move to road user charging by 2030, demands ACE

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The government must introduce dynamic road user charging in the UK over the long-term – starting in 2030, according to the Association for Consultancy and Engineering in a new report entitled “Funding Roads for the Future”.

And it warned that because of the complexity of introducing a new road taxation model in the UK, the government must take the initial steps now to implement such a scheme.

And in the meantime, the government must introduce reforms to Vehicle Excise Duty and Heavy Goods Vehicle Road User Levy to ensure these taxes raise sufficient revenue for the National Roads Fund from 2020-21, it said pointing out that reforms to VED must ensure sufficient revenue is raised in light of the expected significant uptake of zero-emission vehicles in the next decade.

The ACE also wants reforms to HGV Road User Levy to remove offsets against Vehicle Excise Duty for UK-registered vehicles and introduce a dynamic per-distance charge (with a range of variables) instead of the current per-day charge.

The Association for Consultancy and Engineering represents the interests of professional consultancies and engineering companies operating within the built and natural environment.

The report calls for an increase in the overall funding for England’s local roads.

“The establishment of a Local Roads Fund, ring-fenced through a proportion of revenue from Fuel Duty, would be a medium-term solution to improving the quality of local roads in England.”

In addition, it said: “The Government should develop a National Roads Strategy outlining the overall approach of all funding programmes for roads, including how investments can unlock productivity and achieve broader economic benefits.

Other recommendations include:

* The government should increase the number of Road Investment Strategy 2 performance metrics focused on reducing congestion and increasing the productivity of the Strategic Road Network.

* The major road network should be designed in a flexible and agile way, where local roads can be easily added to the national network when there is a strong case that further investment will unlock productivity in underperforming areas.

* The government should significantly increase its investment in the smart motorways programme, given the programme’s recent success at reducing congestion and making roads safer.

* The government replaces the Community Infrastructure Levy with a better designed Local Infrastructure Tariff, in line with the CIL Review Group’s recommendation.

* The government must conduct a study on increasing private investment in the road network, by investigating practices in other countries and other parts of the infrastructure sector, particularly rail.

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