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55,000 sign No 10 petition against road pricing

David Millward
London Telegraph
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Plans to impose pay as you drive road-pricing on Britain's motorists have run into fierce opposition, with more than 55,000 people signing a Downing Street online petition calling for the scheme to be scrapped.

The number of signatories will be a blow not only to the Government but also to the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats who have also come out in favour of the policy.

The issue has generated a far greater response than any other on the Downing Street website, with 56,247 responses to date.

The number dwarfs the 16,294 people who have called for the scrapping of the hunting ban which has emerged as the second most popular issue.

Submitted by Mr Peter Roberts - Downing Street has declined to provide further details about him - it urged the Prime Minister to concentrate on improving the country's roads to improve congestion.

It added: "The idea of tracking every vehicle at all times is sinister and wrong. Road pricing is already here with the high level of taxation on fuel. The more you travel - the more tax you pay.

"It will be an unfair tax on those who live apart from families and poorer people who will not be able to afford the high monthly costs."

Two weeks ago Sir Rod Eddington, the Government's transport adviser, gave his support to road pricing.

He suggested that motorists could pay as much as £1.28 a mile to travel on the busiest roads at the height of the rush hour, a figure which could lead to some drivers face bills of up to £25 a day to get to and from work.

Motorists' hostility to the proposals has been increased by fears that politicians are now looking at road pricing as a means of bringing down CO2 emissions rather than easing congestion.

The response to the Downing Street petition confirms research by the left-leaning think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research, which last month said that voters still had to be convinced of the case for road pricing.

The deadline for signing the online petition passes on Feb 27 next year.

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