The last government backed down after 1.8 million people signed a petition against road pricing.
Although the current government assures us that our existing major routes will not be privatised or tolled short-term, it also accepted ‘the Cook Report’ proposing that they be run by a company with commercial freedom to sweat assets.
It now proposes to set up the Highways Agency as such a state-owned company.
To hold it to account for the driving public, it is interesting that the government sees as possibilities a railways body or its own motoring forum – which curiously represents groups that make money out of drivers, such as insurance companies.
Some of its appointees have actually lobbied the government to bring in road pricing as a means of making money out of drivers, and one has even supported workplace parking charges and opposed reducing fuel taxes.
Drivers already pay around a massive £50bn a year in taxes. Enough is enough.
Proper safeguards are needed against an important loophole.
I urge readers to respond to the consultation by December 20, making it clear that any new company should not have powers to lease-off our roads to road tolling interests.
Please write to: Roads Reform Consultation, DFT Zone 3/23, London SW1P 4DR or e-mail: Roads.Reform@dft.gsi.gov.uk
Alliance of British Drivers