The Government appears to have performed a U-turn on the national road pricing scheme. The Telegraph reports that the Department for Transport will tell MPs next week:
"It is not the department's intention, at this stage, to take the separate powers needed to price the national road network."
Instead, the paper reports, local authorities will be left to decide whether to introduce local road pricing schemes.
This represents a huge victory for campaigners against the intrusive and expensive plans for national road pricing. Hats off to Peter Roberts, who posted the famous petition against road pricing on the Downing Street website, which attracted 1.8 million signatures. The petition was key in getting Ministers to re-think.
We must now remain vigilant against any cynical revenue-raising stunts from town halls. Revenue from local road pricing schemes is unlikely to be compensated by a reduction in vehicle excise duty or fuel duty. So we will be watching local authorities carefully to see that the revenue raised from any local road pricing scheme is fully matched by reductions in council tax. The politicians have been warned!