The public is strongly against the idea of road privatisation according to new research.
A poll on TheGreenCarWebsite.co.uk revealed that a staggering 81 per cent* majority is against the idea of privatising the UK’s road network, despite the government suggesting that privatisation could lead to better maintained roads and help reduce the country’s Budget deficit.
Privatising the roads could also bring with it road pricing; leading to a system where drivers are charged according to the amount they drive rather than through the current VED system.
Better maintained roads and an incentive to drive less? It sounds like a positively green idea, with the Prime Minister David Cameron himself stating that; “There’s nothing green about a traffic jam – and gridlock holds the economy back” during a speech he made about road infrastructure proposals at the Institute of Civil Engineers back in March.
But the website’s readers appear unconvinced by the Government’s plans, with 11 per cent approving of the idea that new build roads alone should be privatised. Just 8 per cent approved of full privatisation of the UK’s entire network.
So why are the public against road privatisation? It could be that they fear that the country’s assets are being sold off and that private investors will put future profits ahead of real improvements in the network. They may also fear that investors will charge excessive tolls to use their roads, to further boost company profits and exacerbate motorists’ woes.
But road pricing itself is almost ‘inevitable’ if we are to avoid future road gridlock the RAC Foundation suggested back in June 2010, as it released its ‘Governing and Paying for England’s Roads’ report.** If that is so, then whether roads are privatised or not, UK motorists faces a future where they are taxed according to their mileage.
The website’s editor, Faye Sunderland comments: “It sounds although the Government is going to have a fight on its to change motoring taxation and the way which our roads are maintained. As the jaded motorist faces ever-increasing costs-is it any surprise that they are sceptical about privatisation?”
“However a pay-per-mile system of motoring taxation makes environmental and economic sense and should replace the outdated VED system,” she adds.