Where now for road pricing?
More reliable cross-town commercial deliveries engendered by peak time traffic control in Manchester will not be possible following the scrapping of proposals to introduce the congestion charge, according to leading industry body the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
The FTA had worked hard to bring the issues affecting the logistics industry to the forefront of the consultation process and the industry was optimistic that a workable, long-term solution to the problem of chronic congestion in the city was within reach.
Now, without a curb being imposed on peak time traffic, reliable and efficient commercial deliveries will suffer as a result. Malcolm Bingham, FTA Head of Policy for the North of England, said:
“The Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority (GMPTA) had engaged well with the FTA to explore the real implications that the C-charge would have made on the myriad goods, service and postal delivery vehicles that supply local business. While more work was needed to secure the best level of urban access for commercial vehicles, the groundwork had been laid and we were confident that the congestion charge could represent something of real benefit to businesses and the logistics industry in the area. This decision is a real missed opportunity.”
Besides the improvements it would have provided for commuters, the extra funding and reduced congestion would have made cross-town deliveries more reliable and ultimately more cost effective. With the possibility of more permanent commercial vehicle exemptions, and the considerable financial boost to the local public transport network that was promised, it could have been a 'win-win' situation for Manchester's businesses and its citizens.
Malcolm Bingham continued: “We were hopeful that lower congestion levels would have improved efficiency in the logistics sector and not brought added costs.
“Clearly, the massive financial incentive for Manchester to adopt a congestion charge was not enough to convince the voters. Perhaps the government should now sever the link between the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF) and congestion charging, deploying the TIF for investment in urban areas without the shackles of the congestion charge?”
For further information, please contact FTA's media team on 01892 552255 or, out-of-hours, on 07985 874248 or 07818 450425.