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Dutch embrace road pricing

The Netherlands will be the first country in Europe to introduce national road pricing, it was confirmed this week.

The Dutch government confirmed that it will implement a nationwide "pay as you drive" system using satellite technology across the county for all vehicles by 2016.

Under the scheme, environmentally friendly vehicles will pay less and charges will be more expensive in congested areas.

The scheme will start with heavy goods vehicles in 2011 and will apply to all vehicles by 2016.

The UK's Commission for Integrated Transport claimed that a successful scheme would encourage the UK to follow suit.

"The fact that the Dutch Government has now decided to press ahead with just such a scheme should send out a very clear message – national road pricing makes sense," said Commission for Integrated Transport chairman and Transport for London commissioner Peter Hendy.

"We will be studying this scheme very closely to see what lessons can be learned along the way as we continue to push for a similar solution to the UK's transport problems."

The UK government has signalled its support for a national road charging scheme but a Downing Street petition against the proposal last year attracted more than 1M signatures.

However, the Netherlands scheme is reported to have drawn support from the Dutch public as road tax and purchase tax on new vehicles will be reduced.

"The Dutch are happy because their government is realigning road taxes at the same time," said AA Motoring Trust head of roads policy Paul Watters.

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