FTA members are open to ideas about how new road infrastructure should be charged in the future. However, there are a series of conditions that would need to be met to secure support.
FTA's view on the Road Tolling Charter
As a first principle FTA is against road tolling, although we recognise that some infrastructure would not be built without tolls to provide a return on investment. While Government policy in England is to toll estuarial crossing, our democratic process has set out the conditions given in the Commercial Vehicle Operators Road Tolling Charter that we believe are necessary to make tolling acceptable.
What is the basis of the charge, how is it calculated and what are the costs that it seeks to recover? There must be no discriminatory pricing against commercial vehicles.
FTA has summarised these expectations:
- Compensatory reduction in fuel duty - road users already pay over £40 billion in taxes and commercial vehicle operators about £25 billion in fuel duty alone. Any new tolls or charges must be offset by an equivalent reduction in fuel duty and other taxes. There can be no double taxation!
- Availability of alternative non-tolled route - the Government cannot grant a monopoly to a road operator on routes where no suitable alternative exists to the tolled route (for example the M6 alternative to the M6 Toll)
- Minimum service levels - any contract to manage and charge for a new road must be accompanied by minimum standards of service, including route availability in severe weather, breakdown recovery and assistance times, minimum transit times and parking and rest facilities. Operators will expect value for money and compensation when service falls short of promised standards
- Lower rates for less polluting and less road-wearing vehicles - vehicles meeting the latest low emission standards should be offered discounts to incentivise their use and recognise the contribution they make to improved environmental standards. As with VED, charges should be lower for vehicles with fewer axles or lower weights that cause less impact to the road surface
- Harmonise charging/tolling nationally / interchangeability - there should be a common national basis for the charge and the payment technology should allow the interchangeability of charging technologies and avoid the current requirement to have different tags for different bridges and tunnels
- Toll revenue to be invested in the roads to which they apply - tolls and charges should be first invested in the route to which they apply so as to guarantee a high standard of road condition and provision of services
- Declaration of new building programme - the Government should publish a long-term plan for investment in the roads network and identify proposed new routes on which tolling would be expected to be applied
Find out more
Contact Malcolm Bingham, Head of Policy (North) at FTA