Road pricing has been a politiclaly charged issue in the Uk for decades. The ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030 upped the ante by raising the challenge of a corresponding decline in two significant sources of Treasury revenue – fuel duty and vehicle excise duty – but Government has recently said that, from 1 April 2025, all electric car owners will be required to pay the standard rate of road tax VED, which is currently £165 per year.
Advocates for road pricing suggest that a 'pay as you drive' system Is revenue neutral, with most motorists paying the same or less than they do currently. Several recent studies, from all sides of the transport sector, have suggested that the public is minded to accpt some form of road pricing in future.
The Government's Transport Decarbonisation Plan commits to delivering a 'zero emission fleet of cars, vans, motorcycles, and scooters'. It also says that 'we will reform the way local transport infrastructure is funded to drive and deliver decarbonisation at a local level'. Road pricing is not mentioned. By law, the UK’s emissions must be net zero by 2050.
This webinar will explore:
- Achieving carbon zero: why road user charging / pay as you go charging is required
- Types of road pricing – overview of schemes throughout the world
- Impacts of charging on behavioural change
- Demand management/road user pricing to fund future sustainable transport projects, plus the innovative use of capital budgets
What is road pricing?
Road pricing is a charge paid for using roads on a 'per-use' basis. In the UK, road charges have generally been used for two reasons: to tackle congestion and to improve air quality by charging vehicles based on their emissions levels.
Current forms of road pricing
Limited forms of local road pricing schemes already exist in the UK:
- Toll roads like the M6 toll road
- Bridges and crossings such as the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Mersey Crossing
- Heavy Goods Vehicles levy for non-UK hauliers
- Congestion charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London, some Clean Air Zones and Nottingham's Workplace Parking Levy
Policy aims of road pricing initiatives
The aims of any road pricing are twofold: financial and environmental. The issue will be how the Government can deliver this in a way that works for everyone.
No comprehensive national scheme currently exists anywhere in the world.
If driving becomes cheaper, it will likely lead to more driving and therefore more congestion. This will also affect bus users' journeys and of course, increase pollution.
A road pricing system would support other Government policy priorities, such as encouraging active travel, decarbonising transport and increasing transport infrastructure investment.