Azara Blog: Essex County Council wants to extort motorists near Stansted

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Date published: 2006/08/04

The Cambridge Evening News says:

Proposals to make drivers pay for using their cars to get to Stansted Airport have been slammed by a Cambridgeshire business chief.

As the News reported yesterday (Thursday, 03 August), Essex County Council is considering the introduction of congestion charging or road tolls in the vicinity of the giant airport.

The council claims road jams in the area are on the increase and the problem will get worse when extra homes are built nearby.

Coun Rodney Bass, the council's cabinet member for highways and transportation said the proposals were "by no means set in stone", but added the idea could help to generate money to "aid the economic progress of the county and region", as well as providing cash for improvements to the transport network.

However, John Bridge, Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce chief executive, condemned the scheme as "worrying" and "totally unacceptable".

He said: "Once again, it looks like a case of lack of Government funding prompting a local council to look at alternative ways of raising revenue. It is very worrying, and totally unacceptable.

"It will simply punish the people who are the easiest target, the motorists.

"Last year, motorists in this country paid £43 billion in fuel duty - and the Government spent £1.6 billion on road improvements.

"If they want to bring in road tolls, they must be prepared to ensure there is proper investment in our roads, and also that there are proper public transport alternatives in place. That simply isn't the case at the moment."

Well this is just Essex County Council trying to extort one narrow class of car drivers, pure and simple. Perhaps the real ploy is to try and damage Stansted Airport commercially, or perhaps it is to try and get more money from central government. Who knows. But motorists are indeed already the biggest suckers in the country, subject to the biggest ripoff of all in ripoff Britain, so this proposal is par for the course.

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