Royal commission revives UK transport debate

Environmentalists back radical transport proposals but freight companies balk at vignette

A report from the UK's prestigious Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) has rekindled a debate about how to tackle the country's mounting traffic-related pollution problems. In its second report on the subject in just three years, the RCEP recommends radical action to tackle the problem from legislating for car fuel efficiency to enhanced planning and integration of transport services at local and national level. Environmental groups have greeted the report enthusiastically. Friends of the Earth, which is planning a "fuming mad" rally in London this weekend to promote targets to cut road traffic, said the report "outlines the path which the government must follow". But freight companies criticised the RCEP's suggestion that all lorries should buy a permit or vignette to use the UK's motorways - a practice followed by several European countries. The UK's Freight Transport Association supports the idea of foreign vehicles paying to use motorways but says UK lorries should not because the veh icle excise duty they pay now is "the highest such charge in Europe".

Follow Up:
Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, e-mail: rcep@dial.pI

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