Antony Oliver refers to the need for increased public taxation to lever in more money for roads expenditure (NCE 11 October). It comes shortly after transport minister Norman Baker’s description of a national system of road charging as “inevitable” in the Sunday Express on 22 September.
The recent CBI report Bold thinking: A model to fund our future roads promotes the use of hypothecated fuel and Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) being possibly replaced by direct tolls to fund future infrastructure.
The loss making M6 Toll Road and the complexity, cost and administrative burden of a national toll system rolled out to cover 35M licensed vehicles point to the need for a much simpler and quicker to deliver system.
Changing VED to a single low vehicle registration fee and increasing the tax pro-rata or more on fuel would deliver an effective national “pay as you go” road charging system that would benefit low mileage, low speed drivers and make the others think more about the cost of and need for their journey.
Hypothecation of extra fuel tax above the CBI’s estimated current road spend of £9.4bn would allow the government to allocate additional money locally and strategically to maintenance and improvement of the existing highway network and prudent expenditure on new roads.
While not the private finance source the CBI and government are thinking of, the everyday purchase of fuel by the public and organisations following the abolition of VED and an increase in fuel tax could quickly and efficiently deliver the extra money for expenditure on roads that many are crying out for.
- Mick Oliver (M ret), firstname.lastname@example.org
All the arguments for road user charging seem to come directly or indirectly from companies or organisations who will profit from this unwanted technology, and the bureaucrats whose empires will expand enormously to administer the schemes.
We already have very efficient road use charging via fuel duty, which includes a built-in incentive to use fuel in a more efficient way.
Yes, levering in more money will have to come down to increased public taxation. But everyone would be much happier to see the money spent on what it is intended for, rather than pouring huge sums into unwanted technological fixes - which are disruptive and have a record of failing.
- Paul McCombie (F), deputy head of department, department of architecture and civil engineering, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY
Procrastination dogs A1 upgrade
With regard to Mike Hodgkinson’s letter on the A1 needing to be upgraded to motorway standard (NCE 4 October), the Department for Transport avowed its intention a number of years ago to upgrade the whole of the A1 from London to Newcastle to motorway standard.
The A1 motorway would be a parallel route to the M1, enhancing capacity, providing an alternative and catering for future traffic growth.
As with many other desperately needed upgrades and bypasses, the problem seems to be lack of will of the politicians and civil servants who manageEngland’s road network. Why are Scotland and Wales able to move things forward but England continues to suffer from lack of perceived need? England deserves better and completing the A1(M) would be a useful start.
- John Franklin (F), 11 The Ridings, East Horsley, Surrey KT24 5BN
Energy crisis: we were warned
You published an article of mine a few years back regarding the, at the time, Labour energy minister not advocating nuclear and my comments that he should look forward to blackouts at Christmas when renewables aren’t working in the dark, still evenings.
Now some five years later we hear that we have a 1:12 chance of power cuts in 2015 due to insufficient supply and over rigorous European Union (EU) legislation.
Green is good, but why can’t the government see that we must have the security of power and get a move on and get these nuclear plants up and running and if the coal fired power stations from which we get so much power need a few more years then so be it.
Or does this government fancy a dark Christmas too?
- Mick Smythe, email@example.com
In delay there lies no plenty
We have all missed main issue with the airport “hub” saga. We spend all our time discussing pie in the sky concepts of Boris’ estuary fantasy when the real issue is the back up infrastructure to service these ideas.
No matter where we set the so called “hub” it will be an aeon before all of the public inquiries have been held, and millions are spent to appease a handful of so called do-gooders.
In the meantime, the skies above London are continually being polluted by the ever circling aircraft waiting for a landing slot at Heathrow.
Millions have already been spent to set up infrastructure to service Heathrow and with the completion of Terminal 2, there will be sufficient capacity to handle the increase in passengers into the next decade.
So let us stop this nonsense and get on with a third runway at Heathrow, now, and make it the “hub” that is already is and should be.
- Mario Donnetti (F), firstname.lastname@example.org