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News - 7 July 2004
Cutting congestion and council tax!

Cuts in Council Tax could be linked to congestion charging

A Department for Transport (DfT) study due to be released this month suggests that local authorities should be allowed to cut council tax in return for introducing congestion charging similar to the London scheme.

The road-charging feasibility study makes the suggestion as one of a range of possible incentives to persuade councils to introduce congestion charging which they all currently have the power to do but which none have exercised.

This idea follows hot on the heels of Alistair Darling’s announcement last week of trials of new motorway lanes only for cars carrying more than one person. Such schemes already operate effectively in the United States and Australia. The feasibility study was set up after the publication of the DfT paper “Managing our Roads” (www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_roads/documents/page/dft_roads_026228.hcsp) in December 2003.

In Brighton & Hove the leader of the local authority has so far rejected any suggestion of congestion charging in the city. However, as more cities embrace the idea (Edinburgh and Bristol are both actively considering it), pressure to adopt some form of demand management may increase. The Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership (BHEP) would like to see a clearer picture of the economic impact of the London experiment.


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