Roads pay as you go
Monday, March 19 2012
Government plans to introduce pay-as-you-go travel and lease roads to the private sector have been attacked by West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass.
Mr Nattrass, who is a member of the EU’s Transport & Tourism Committee, has hit out at the Government ahead of a speech to be given by David Cameron in which the Prime Minister is expected to call for a raft of measures including the creation of further privately-run toll roads.
UKIP Transport spokesman Mike Nattrass, who has been warning for years that pay-as-you-go travel could become a reality on British roads, says the Government is again on the wrong road and said bringing in private companies and a network of toll roads would severely hit high mileage motorists and the UK haulage industry.
The Prime Minister is expected to announce the urgent need to “build for the future” but Mr Nattrass said the Government’s fascination with tolls would put hauliers on the fast track to financial ruin.
Mr Nattrass said: “I have warned for many years that pay-as-you-go travel could be introduced on our roads. Sadly the Government is set to propose plans which show my fears are justified.
“Foreign-owned private firms could effectively take control of major roads and tolls. Tolls support the rich and limit the freedom of poorer motorists who would be forced onto already congested minor roads.
“The Government thinks pay-as-you-go travel and tolls are the answer. Ministers should take a serious look at the M6 Toll.
“Its owners Midland Expressway Ltd posted £49 million losses last summer and figures show the road is under-utilised. Essentially, the M6 Toll has proved to be a costly embarrassment and it should be put back into public ownership.
“In 2010 I warned that the EU was attempting to seize control of our roads under its European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) Directive. Now, the British Government is on a collision course with UK motorists by looking at extending this toll network.
“Tolls are the future within the EU and satellite metering of each vehicle will prevail if they get their way”.
"The proposed destruction of the Highways Agency by giving the work to the private sector is a backward step. The Highways Agency is the best provider of road services and when run correctly will be more cost effective than a "piece meal for profit" approach. If the Agency is not performing, change the management not the concept."