“Two-tier” road tax system for motorways

The government is considering a new “two-tier” road tax system that will make motorists pay more tax to drive on motorways. Prepare for B-roads to get busier as people are priced off three-lane carriageways and onto smaller rural routes…

The proposals follow a review on transport funding and suggest those who only make local journeys would pay a lower rate of Vehicle Excise Duty – the proper name for road tax – while motorway mile munchers would have to pay the inflated rate.

The plans would be enforced through Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras cross-referencing your car’s details to see if you’ve paid the higher rate, but it’d also heighten the sense of a surveillance society that so many citizens already disapprove of.

The suggestion comes in response to falling VED rates in the UK – a major form of funding for the Treasury’s expenditure on transport. The Office for Budget Responsibility cut its forecast for road tax revenues by £100 million per year from 2014/2015.

That’s down from the current £6 billion a year raised due to a move to more efficient vehicles from the general public.

It’s feared the proposals would price people off motorways and onto smaller roads, increasing congestion and raising safety concerns.

Ministers have not firmly decided upon changes to the VED system yet, however. It is also thought a one-off ‘gas-guzzler tax of up to £23,000 for the most polluting new cars could be introduced, with subsidies for small frugal vehicles.



The Transport Select Committee has branded the Department for Transport’s response to its report on road safety “disappointing”.

It said the DfT had “wasted an opportunity to demonstrate focus and clear leadership on road safety.”

The report was launched back in June, following figures highlighting that 2011 saw the first increase in road deaths since 2003, at 1,901 people killed.

The number of people killed or seriously injured in car accidents also rose to 25,023 (up from 24,510 in 2010) marking the first rise in the overall figure for 18 years.

Louise Ellman, Chair of the TSC, outlined she was “particularly disappointed that the government hasn’t accepted the committee’s recommendations to initiate an independent review of driver training, especially given the rate for young driver casualties and deaths.”

Car crashes are the main cause of death for 16-24 year olds and the TSC has said the report should be a “wake-up call” for the government to implement new road safety strategies.

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