Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Pay-as-you-drive scheme urged by MP

Tim Yeo is proposing a 'truly radical' pay-as-you-drive scheme for Britain's motorways
A pay-as-you-drive scheme would aim to cut emissions as well as congestion

A "truly radical" pay-as-you-drive scheme for Britain's motorways should be introduced to help the country switch to a low-carbon economy, a senior Tory MP has said.

Tim Yeo, who chairs the Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, called for drivers to be charged based on emissions and time of travel to promote green vehicle choices and cut peak time congestion.

He also urged ministers to consider the "overdue" privatisation of Britain's motorway network to fund investment in high-speed rail and road improvements.

And Mr Yeo, a former environment minister, warned the Government his committee would "expose" any "slippage" in the coalition's commitment to green policies.

The South Suffolk MP, who chaired the Commons Environmental Audit Committee during the last parliament, wrote a book called Green Gold: The Case For Raising Our Game On Climate Change.

In it he puts forward a package of measures to accelerate the UK's move to a low-carbon economy - which he argues would provide large financial rewards in the long run.

They include a personal carbon credits scheme, more renewable and nuclear power to improve energy security, strict new building standards backed by tax changes to reward those who invest in energy efficiency and a global approach.

But among the most radical measures are the proposals to decarbonise the transport system by incentivising low emission vehicles, privatising the motorways and introducing road pricing.

He said: "So far most politicians have been reluctant to embrace the huge potential which a truly radical road pricing system offers. Allied to the overdue privatisation of Britain's motorways, this could fund both more investment in better roads and the immediate development of high speed rail.

"Since it could also pay for a cut in fuel duty, the upshot would be a cut in the cost of driving for drivers who make little use of motorways, a group which includes many rural residents for whom car ownership is a necessity, regardless of wealth."

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