Thursday, June 9

Big Brother will be watching your car

Pay-as-you go road charging could be trialled within five years, says Transport Secretary Alistair Darling.

The pilot scheme is likely to cover a large conurbation or region, he said. If it is a success a nationwide scheme could be in place as early as 2015.

The EU's Galileo Satellite tracking would be used with charges varying from 2p a mile on rural roads to £1.30 in congested areas.

Mr Darling said charging could replace road tax and fuel duty. It would leave half of motorists better off, he said.

What the minister did not remind us is that the authorities will know where every car in the UK is at any time.

Mr Darling explained the full details of his proposals in a speech to the Social Market Foundation in London on Thursday.

The transport secretary says that his plans, which are unlikely to become reality before 2015-2020, are an attempt to prevent Britain's roads reaching "gridlock".

Mr Darling said he needed to build a consensus for such radical proposals and he acknowledged that road pricing was not an "easy option".

But he argued that "future generations would curse us" if politicians failed to live up the challenges of keeping traffic moving in such a "crowded island".

There was not enough space to simply build more roads, he said.
"Road pricing is not an easy option - there will be hard choices and difficulties along the way. But we need to face up to all this now," he said.

Motorists' groups have reacted angrily to the proposals, and a Mori survey suggests 16% of drivers would refuse to have tracking devices fitted in their cars to allow the introduction of road-charging. The editor of this blog and a few of his friends would be included.

The survey suggested 34% of respondents opposed the introduction of charges for driving on congested roads at peak times, compared with 47% who supported the measure.

Bert Morris, director of the AA Motoring Trust, told BBC News: "The real issue is going to be public acceptance, trust in the government to keep its word over revenue neutrality and actually scrapping fuel tax and road taxes."

What no one has actually explained is how spying on and actually charging motorists in this way will reduce traffic congestion. Would it not be simpler and indeed a lot laess intrusive to improve the public transport system ?

So folks - wherever you are 'Big Brother' will be watching, remember it will be good for you the government said so.

4 comments:

Sarah-Jane Hollands said...

Public transport? I'll get out of my car when you prise my cold dead fingers from the steering wheel. An Englishwoman's car is her chariot...

Peter Troy said...

Is that why most women can not reverse without causing damage?
Editor

Sarah-Jane Hollands said...

Mr troy, I think you'll find most women can't do ANYTHING without causing damage. This is because most men have such fragile egos.

Sarah-Jane Hollands said...

Mr troy, I think you'll find most women can't do ANYTHING without causing damage. This is because most men have such fragile egos.