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Moves to unify road charging equipment

NEWS

IN-CAR EQUIPMENT needed for road user charging schemes could risk being incompatible between different cities unless clearer safeguards are written into the Transport Bill, MPs claimed this week.

Tory MPs on the standing committee of the Transport Bill are unhappy that the wording of proposed legislation does not allow for 'one technical standard' as a statutory requirement for the approval of schemes.

Clause 151 in the draft Bill relating to equipment used in charging schemes states that: 'The Secretary of State may by regulation approve standards for equipment used for or in connection with the operation of charging schemes.'

Tory Transport Bill spokesman Bernard Jenkin told NCE: 'The Secretary of State should rewrite this clause so that 'a technical standard' rather than 'standards' is enforced as a statutory requirement.'

The Tories will now table an amendment over the next two weeks when the committee reads clauses 139-175 relating to road user charging schemes and the workplace charging levy.

A DETR source accepted that the wording of the Bill did not make absolutely clear that it was compulsory for local authorities to use inter-operable equipment. However, the source told NCE that they were 'totally confident' one piece of equipment would be standardised across schemes and that it would comply with the European CEN 278 standard.

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