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Durham road charge is victim of own success

ONE OF Britain's first road charging schemes has been so effective at cutting traffic that it is hardly making any money, officials from Durham County Council told MPs last week.

Drivers have deserted a busy one way street close to the city's cathedral after the county introduced a £2 charge for motorists on 1 October .

An estimated 3,000 cars which used the street before launch of scheme had been cut by 90% said Durham head of highway management services Roger Elphick.

He was giving evidence to the Commons transport select committee which is probing urban charging schemes.

He said there are now estimated to be 200 paying vehicles entering the zone which would generate just £20,000 a year.

Elphick said that Durham had been expecting to make £55,000 a year from the scheme.

'The charge, together with income from the bus service is expected to raise £120,000 a year, which will subsidise a cathedral bus service, support the shop mobility scheme and meet the administrative costs of the scheme, ' said Durham's submission to the committee.

'It will be a measure of success that motorists elect not to meet the charge and that less income is generated.

Any operating deficit can be subsidised from on street city centre parking charges.'

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