Edinburgh road toll vote may hit UK plans

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THE Capital’s emphatic rejection of road tolls may delay the introduction of similar schemes in other cities for years, Transport Secretary Alistair Darling was warned by MPs today.

An all party Commons Committee said that congestion charging was essential to cut traffic jams in Britain’s towns and cities.

But the councils that refused to bring in road pricing should not be bullied into doing it by the Government.

The House of Commons Transport Committee said the success of the scheme in London showed that traffic flows could be cut by up to half.

But it warned Edinburgh Central MP Mr Darling: "Local congestion charging is perceived as a high political risk.

"The recent referendum in Edinburgh, which resulted in an emphatic 3-1 rejection of proposals for a city wide congestion charge scheme, is likely to reinforce this view and delay the development of other local congestion charging schemes.

"Congestion in towns and cities outside the UK capital is largely restricted to a small number of peak hours each day and a limited number of roads.

"Even though some of these roads experience severe congestion there may not be local popular support for charging.

"There are also questions about the cost effectiveness of local congestion charging schemes, in cities other than London."

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