Nearly 80 per cent of drivers would avoid toll roads and take to smaller, unrestricted roads if plans to introduce charges to major highways went ahead, an independent poll has found. Research carried out by the Alliance of British Drivers (ABD) found that many drivers have serious concerns over government plans for major roads including the M25 and A1.
Seventy-seven per cent of respondents said that they’d change their journeys and resort to untolled roads, which may be less able to cope with high levels of traffic. Sixty-four per cent of the 1,537 drivers questioned also felt that their standard of living would decrease if they had to pay to use roads which are currently free; only 13 per cent were unconcerned that this would affect their quality of life.
Nearly two thirds of respondents also had concerns over their journeys being recorded by a new road management company too, while over half don’t want transport ministers to allow major roads to be managed by a private company, as alluded to in the government's Cook Report.
It would be politically unacceptable for the government to privatise our roads and bring in a national road pricing scheme in one go.
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”.
He added: “The new Infrastructure Bill being debated in Parliament 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.”
ABD road pricing spokesman, Brian Mooney also commented: “When the previous government moved to bring in road pricing, the ABD’s Peter Roberts launched a famous petition against it. Over 1.8 million people signed it, as concerned about journey tracking and privacy as the effect on their pockets.”
Founder of the ABD, Brian Gregory stated: “I call on John Hayes, the new minister in charge of the Highways Agency to take an axe to these muddled proposals that will leave millions of driver worse off. Instead he should focus on giving drivers the roads we’ve paid for several times in advance.”
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