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Poll finds public support for congestion charging

Date: 21 December 2020   |   Author: Sean Keywood


Schemes that charge road users a fee to drive around towns and cities are supported by 62% of the UK public, according to a survey by Ipsos MORI.

The polling organisation says the survey followed previous research among captains of industry, which found an even higher level of support for such schemes, at 82%.

Members of the public with access to cars are said to be very nearly as supportive as the general population, at 60%.

Ipsos MORI says this level of support represents a big increase, with a 2007 survey finding just 33% of the public in favour.

However, the level of support drops if money from such schemes is used to benefit motorists in the form of lower road tax, with support dropping to 39% among the general public, and to 34% among industry leaders.

The survey found stronger support for money raised to be used for public transport, and also found some opponents to such schemes would be in favour if they were targeted at higher-polluting vehicles.

Ipsos MORI research director for transport and infrastructure Ben Marshall said: "Media reports that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is weighing up plans for a new national system with motorists paying directly to use Britain's roads have put road pricing back on the political agenda. 

"Public opinion will play an important role, just as it did in curbing previous ambitions to find a new way of funding the country's roads.

The recent focus has been on a new scheme's revenue-raising potential given a multi-billion 'tax hole' caused by the coronavirus pandemic and a move to electric cars. 

"But our survey shows that while both public and industry's instincts are 'pro'- the introduction of charging schemes in principle, practical implementation will matter."