Government plans to introduce toll roads could penalise drivers of cars that pollute the most.

Drivers of big off-roaders and other high-CO2 vehicles face yet another blow – this time in the form of road tolls.

Transport ministers are investigating how best to charge motorists for using motorways and other key routes or zones at the busiest times. One way to do this is to use satellite navigation technology, with cars carrying an electronic device to identify them. Drivers would run an online account to pay any charges they incurred.

It’s likely that drivers of the most polluting vehicles could pay twice as much as those running ‘greener’ cars.

At a conference of UK road-pricing experts, transport minister Paul Clark refused to rule out additional charges for cars that emit high levels of carbon dioxide. He said ministers were considering a range of options, including road pricing for single ‘express’ lanes on the motorway. Trials will begin in the New Year.

One company is already testing the technology needed to run such schemes, using volunteers in East Anglia. Road pricing is already used across mainland Europe and some countries – such as Germany – already charge according to emissions levels.

Stephen Jury


November 5, 2008

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