Britain’s motorists may have to pay per mile under Government plans
The Government is considering introducing the UK’s first pay-per-mile system for drivers in a bid to cut emissions and traffic.
The Department for Transport would charge lorry drivers using mileage and emissions-based charges in a bid to raise funds to improve existing roads.
Speaking on Radio 4's Today Programme, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "What e have not been doing is sorting out the next tier down of roads, the trunk roads which used to be A roads..what we are doing is looking to start to improve those roads. I dub this new fund 'the by-pass fund'. It's all about medium-sized towns on those A roads that have clogged up centres, that have got lorries waiting at traffic lights, that have got pollution at the centre."
The system is being drawn up for heavy good vehicles which suggests it could replace existing fuel duty taxes.
The revenue collected from fuel duty is expected to fall this year as more drivers use electronic and hybrid cars.
Sources maintained the pricing plan was aimed only at heavy goods vehicles, but industry insiders believe the scheme will be rolled out to all users.
Duncan Buchanan, policy director at the Road Haulage Association and a former senior civil servant at the Department for Transport, said: “This is a precursor to road-user charging for every vehicle. Why would you introduce it just for lorries?
She continued: “The electrification of lorries — so the loss of fuel duty revenue — is not going to happen as quickly as it is for cars and other small vehicles . . . It seems we are facing a scenario where they are testing the technology on us.”
Only one motorway in the UK charges drivers for use – the M6 toll road in the West Midlands costs up to £5.90 for cars and £11 for HGVs.
There are also congestion charges for drivers in London. However, Mayor Sadiq Khan has said he would prefer to move to a pay-as-you-go model.
The DfT said: “We are consulting on the HGV levy to help hauliers make more efficient use of our roads and improve environmental performance . . . HGVs cause greater wear and tear to road surfaces than many other vehicle types, and are responsible for a significant proportion of transport emissions, which is why we are reviewing the levy.”