On December 8, the DETR published Breaking the Logjam, a consultation paper proposing new powers that would enable local authorities to raise money for local transport from road user charging and a workplace parking levy.

The proposals for primary legislation include retention of revenues by pilot local authorities to spend on improving local transport.

The paper also seeks views on issues likely to be covered in secondary legislation, such as possible limits to the size of the charges imposed, exemptions from charges and preferential rates, penalties for non-compliance and procedures for appeals.

Once the consultation period is over work will start with local authorities interested in taking part in the initial pilot phase. The consultation period will close on 31 March 1999

The government claims the new charging system will cut congestion on the roads, reduce pollution, pump money into local transport; ensure money raised by transport is spent on transport ; and cut the costs to business caused by traffic delays.

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said: “Breaking the Logjam will give local authorities the means to tackle local traffic problems and improve the environment. Local authorities in approved pilot scheme will be able to keep all of the money raised to spend on worthwhile local transport improvements for at least ten years.”

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