BY 2010, drivers using the UK's busiest roads during rush hour will pay up to 30 pence per kilometre if recommendations in a new report by the government's Commission for Integrated Transport (CfIT) are taken up.
In Paying for road use, CfIT argues that the only way to reduce congestion on the UK's clogged roads is to bring in a nationwide system of charges.
The most heavily congested roads should be subject to the highest tariffs that would cover 10% of the network. Commuters driving into London would pay up to 30p/km, with main routes into other cities priced at 9p/km, and the UK's busiest motorways costing just under 6p/km.
Drivers making non essential journeys will be forced to travel outside peak periods, use alternative routes, or switch to public transport, CfIT argues.
Charging will also result in commuters changing their working patterns, the report claims.
The new regime would also see more road freight making journeys at night, when travelling on most roads will be free.
CfIT chairman David Begg claimed that changes in travel patterns brought about by charging would reduce congestion by 44%. The government's target for reducing congestion set out in its 10 year transport plan is 6%.