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Motorists face road fees

PUBLISHED: 17:02 25 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:26 03 March 2010

DRIVERS could have to pay up to 10p a mile to drive into the heart of Ipswich at rush hours by 2010, according to a government-backed think-tank.

But a Suffolk-based member of the commission that produced the report said most drivers in the county would pay less to use the roads if the proposals were implemented.

DRIVERS could have to pay up to 10p a mile to drive into the heart of Ipswich at rush hours by 2010, according to a government-backed think-tank.

But a Suffolk-based member of the commission that produced the report said most drivers in the county would pay less to use the roads if the proposals were implemented.

The government's Commission For Integrated Transport (CFIT) has proposed that motorists should be charged every time they use roads - with higher charges the busier the road and the busier the time of day.

Road tax would be abolished and the controversial excise duty on fuel lowered.

Baroness Ros Scott of Needham Market is a member of CFIT - and said today that the proposals would be good for people who live in rural areas.

"Despite large towns like Ipswich and Bury, Suffolk is still essentially a rural area. Although the roads in the towns might seem very congested during the rush hours, they really aren't as bad as in some other county towns or cities like Norwich or Cambridge," she said.

"There would be a charge for using the major roads, but to drive from Ipswich to the outskirts of London on the A12 would cost about £2.50 off-peak – not a major cost.

"Overall, with the reduction in fuel tax and the abolition of vehicle excise duty, most drivers in Suffolk would be better off if this charging was introduced," she said.

Baroness Scott, who is also a Liberal Democrat member of Suffolk County Council, was doubtful if the target of introducing the new charges by 2010 would be achievable.

"I don't know about the technology that would be needed for this, but the concept is worth looking at," she said.

The proposed charges could me it would cost about 10p a mile to use roads within Ipswich during the rush hours, but this could fall to about 5p a mile during the rest of the day.

Drivers using roads in smaller towns, where congestion problems are not so serious, would pay less - in Felixstowe the charge could be 4p during busy times and 3p during the rest of the day.

And on rural roads – where congestion is not a major problem – the charge could be as low as 2p and 1p a mile.

The heaviest charge would be in London, where rush-hour traffic would be charged 45p a mile, and off-peak traffic 25p a mile.

The charges would be enforced by the fitting of global positioning satellite equipment to every vehicle, with drivers being sent monthly bills.

The CFIT was set up in 1999 by Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott to provide the Government with advice on setting up an integrated transport network for the country.

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