Published: 12/01/2009 00:00 - Updated: 13/01/2009 17:41

Essex fears over road pricing trials

Written byBy Sinead Holland

ESSEX County Council is calling for an urgent meeting to discuss the Government's road pricing trials.

Some reports have highlighted the possibility of so-called "spy in the sky" tests, with Essex named as one of the areas for a pilot "pay as you drive" scheme.

However as the Observer revealed last week, the Department of Transport dismissed claims that any particular location had yet been chosen. It says volunteer driver will take part.

Nevertheless, cabinet member for highways and transportation Councillor Norman Hume has written to the Roads Minister Paul Clark asking him to clarify.

Cllr Hume said: "I would have significant concerns about any possible trials taking place in Essex. I have written to the minister to request an urgent meeting on this matter. We cannot support something that would potentially unfairly penalise motorists in this way.

"I have also asked for more information on the companies short-listed to deliver future programmes. Furthermore I would like to understand how the Government intends to consult local authorities on the use of roads in their area. Local decisions affecting local residents should be taken by their locally elected representatives.

"It is important that the government also understands that a large part of Essex is rural, and for many residents the only option is to use their car to carry out their normal, everyday activities."
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