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Cut road tax and we'll reduce our road usage

In your editorial praising road pricing (NCE 15 November) you failed to mention the system of road pricing we already have that collects a tax for each mile that we travel, increases it in proportion to the fuel consumption of the car, doesn't involve anyone spying on our journeys, and doesn't encourage us to use country roads in preference to motorways.
Better than anything, it is extremely cheap to collect and doesn't require complex equipment and further bureaucracy. It is of course the tax on petrol.

In a similar vein, I recently attended the conference in Cambridge on "Facing the challenge of whole-life zero carbon". We heard about government policies, EU policies, local government policies, subsidies, legally binding targets and carbon trading, which were all intended to reduce our carbon emissions by a factor of five without making energy more expensive or limiting our holiday flights or use of patio heaters.

Surely our politicians realise that fossil fuel consumption will not reduce significantly until it becomes much more expensive, and that this can only be achieved by taxing it wherever it is used. Equivalent tax reductions can then be made elsewhere to divert our economic activity into areas with a much lower carbon footprint.

Barry Johnson (M), 6 Bradrushe Fields, Cambridge

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