Scottish Greens call for national road-use charging framework

We need to cut down the number of cars on our roads.

The Scottish Greens would introduce a national road-use charging framework that will support a major expansion in funding for public transport and walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure.

The party’s general election manifesto, set to be published this month, will call for the UK government to work with devolved governments and local authorities to develop options for introducing road-user charging, with a view to a framework being introduced by the end of the next parliamentary session. 

Road-use charging schemes describe any process whereby motorists are required to pay for driving on public roads. 

Any schemes would need to take accessibility into account and reflect the lack of available public transport in rural areas. They should direct investment from funds raised to those communities with the lowest access to public transport and active travel options.

The Scottish Greens co-leader, Lorna Slater MSP, said: “With our climate in chaos we badly need to be reducing the number of cars on our roads and ramping up our investment in public transport. 

“Road-use charging can play a really important role in delivering that change and encouraging people out of cars. This is especially crucial in our busiest cities and areas that already have good existing public transport provisions.

“These kinds of schemes are already in use across Europe and around the world, and can help us to tackle air pollution and road congestion, as we build cleaner, greener and safer communities.

“Low Emission Zones like the ones in place in Scottish cities are making a difference, but they are only part of the solution if we are going to cut car use.

“We support councils taking initiatives with the limited powers they have, but this is an area where all communities and levels of government need to work together for our common good.”

The switch to electric vehicles is making a positive contribution in cutting emissions and improving air quality, but that alone is not the answer because of the congestion and other environmental impacts they cause. 

Experts warn that without change, the transition to electric cars will leave a £35 billion blackhole in the UK’s finances as a result of lost revenue from fuel duty, and car use and congestion will continue to increase. 

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