Overhaul for British toll roads
30 July 2013
Author: Jack Carfrae
The Government is planning an overhaul of the UK's toll roads. Transport minister Stephen Hammond announced that 'free-flow' charging will be introduced for the Dartford Crossing by October 2014. The move would see the toll booths, known for creating congestion, replaced with a system similar to that of the London Congestion Charge, where users can pay online, via phone or text and in shops.
The move has largely been welcomed by motoring groups but concerns have been raised about the effectiveness of the system and potential lost revenue, particularly as a result of foreign drivers unfamiliar with the process.
Chief secretary to the treasury, Danny Alexander, also confirmed plans to make an 18-mile stretch of the A14 in Cambridgeshire a toll road as part of a £28bn reform plan for UK roads, which it is believed will be controlled by cameras as opposed to toll booths.
London mayor Boris Johnson's Roads Task Force has proposed tolled tunnels for the North and South Circular roads for the capital as part of long-term future reforms.
In South Wales, construction of a £1bn new M4 relief road could be funded by profits from the Severn Bridge tolls, which could lengthen the amount of time the existing £6.20 car and LCV charge remains in place.
The Welsh government wants administration of the bridges to return to public ownership after they have been paid off in 2018, which would theoretically remove the charge. The cost of the new road would extend the charges for much longer if it is to be financed by funds from the bridges.