UK Government backed plans for the biggest Congestion Charging scheme in the world were rejected by the biggest percentage of ‘No’ votes ever registered against a Road Pricing proposal in Britain. Leon Mannings of TC.com suggests though that the results reveal two critical issues that require urgent and sharply focused consideration. The political impact of this ‘local’ decision on a specific scheme will, however, be nationwide and clearly establishes the extent of public ‘acceptability’ of tackling traffic congestion with extra road user charges on top of existing motoring taxes, that currently include; VAT, Vehicle Excise Duty and Fuel Duty. – Not to mention the tax already paid on the money used to pay road use related excise and duty. In effect and as predicted by TC.com, plans to spread Road Pricing schemes in Britain were crushingly rejected by the public of Greater Manchester – although the scale of defeat for the central government backed grand plan is beyond all expectations including here. This clearly brings progress of UK Road Pricing plans crashing to a grinding halt – but the results of voting also reveal an equally critical issue by recording the huge size of gaps between widespread political support for such measures and public opinion of them. The total of 79% ‘No’ voters shows the scale of public rejection to the whole concept road pricing. But the results also showed that over 70% of voters in every Greater Manchester borough did not want Congestion Charges, aka Road Pricing, even though seven out of ten Manchester borough council leaders had pledged their authority’s support for the proposals. And lest we forget, several key supporters of the Manchester TIF plan vigorously rejected calls for a referendum as in their view it was not necessary… Now though, the referendum results show that seven out of ten elected leaders were either pledging their authority’s support for a road pricing scheme – despite knowing that the vast majority of their constituents were not in favour – or were completely out of touch with public opinion and wrong about the real views of the people they are supposed to represent.
labels and tags