Pay-as-you-drive "could save economy from £22bn loss"

A landmark report into the future of British roads has called for radical adoption of congestion-charging schemes and a thorough upgrading of the transport infrastructure.

Sir Rod Eddington’s landmark study claims congestion will soon cost the UK economy £22 billion a year and threatened the economic success that was so responsible for the network’s overcrowding in the first place.

“Parts of the system are under serious strain”, Eddington said. “If left unchecked, the rising cost of congestion will waste an extra £22 billion worth of time in England alone by 2025. By then 13% of traffic will be subject to stop-start travel conditions.”

He stated that cutting travel times by just 5% could in itself save the economy £2.5 billion a year.

Echoing an earlier report this week, Eddington recommended extending congestion pricing on the roads and environmental pricing across all modes of transport - a measure that could recoup £28 billion a year by 2025.

Eddington also painted a dire picture on the rail network, with commuter lines forecast to see further overcrowding, and intercity rail services seeing many trains at or beyond seating capacity on the approaches to cities.

The Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties both broadly endorsed the report, paving the way for PAYD plans regardless of who wins forthcoming general elections.