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Congestion charging is 'only way' to cut traffic

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CONGESTION CHARGING must be widely adopted by Government and councils if the number of cars on Britain's roads is to be significantly cut, a leading transport consultant said this week.

'Congestion charging is the only way to get the significant reductions in traffic,' said Denvil Coombe, deputy managing director of transportation consultant MVA.

Coombe is due to speak at NCE's Delivering Integrated Transport conference in London. Speaking in advance to NCE, Coombe dismissed proposed charges on workplace parking as unable to generate the desired result of reducing city traffic.

'You do not get significant reductions in traffic because you are only affecting those people whose journeys end in the city and not those passing through,' he said.

So far only two councils - Bristol and Leeds - have opted to trial congestion charging although London is expected to follow. But Coombe said he believed most authorities preferred the less politically controversial option of parking charges.

'Congestion charging is also the best way to access the economic benefits stored in the charges that can be used to pay for better public transport,' he added.

'Parking charges are not as effective.'

Other speakers at Delivering Integrated Transport, to be held today and tomorrow, include Midland Expressway managing director Tom Smith on road tolling; traffic director for London Derek Turner; Centro director general Rob Donald on local transport plans and Rail Freight Committee chairman Lord Tony Berkley on balancing passenger and freight transport. Full coverage in next week's NCE.

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