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Road users need clarity

A blueprint to reverse hostile opposition to a national road charging scheme was published by the County Surveyors' Society (CSS) this week.

It calls for a change in strategy to win over public opinion.

Last year 1.5M people signed a petition opposing a national scheme on the Number 10 Downing Street website.

"CSS calls on central and local government to stay the course in respect of the introduction of road pricing and congestion charging in appropriate circumstances," says the CSS Travel is Good report published yesterday.

The report calls for greater transparency on charges and how they would be spent on public transport alternatives. It also called for a comprehensive assessment of the impact that widespread urban and motorway tolls would have on other inter urban roads and rural areas.

"All road pricing proposals should be subject to a mandatory assessment of their impact on all parts of the network likely to be affected," says the report.

"Measures to deal with the predictable consequences of road pricing schemes should be included and funded as part of the road pricing proposal, and implemented before road pricing is introduced."

A Department for Transport said that the government had yet to make a decision on a national charging scheme. But he added: "We have been very clear that we will not support local authority schemes that would have unacceptable effects on other roads."

In towns and cities CSS said that alternatives to the car could be more easily provided if the government relaxed design standards for light rail systems to make them cheaper.

The CSS report examines transport trends between now and 2030. It also backed hydrogen fuel cells as the best solution for the "decarbonisation" of the UK transport system and backed heavy investment in research and development of hydrogen-based transport infrastructure.

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