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Tuesday, 24 July, 2001, 17:17 GMT 18:17 UK
Congestion takes its toll on drivers
Traffic chaos in Birmingham
Tolls could put an end to traffic congestion
Motorists may soon be charged for bringing their cars into Birmingham city centre.

A new study has suggested that charging motorists 2 a day to enter a cordon around the city would provide millions to invest in public transport.

But the scheme, which could be in place by 2006, has received a mixed reaction from city centre workers.

Keith Bennett, who works at Christopher Wray Lighting, said: "I think it is absolutely disgusting.

The advice is that the city fathers have to work on an integrated package of measures

Peter Guest, transport planner

"It should not happen until public transport becomes better and cheaper."

Pilot schemes have taken place in other cities and in London, Mayor Ken Livingstone has suggested a 5 congestion fee for motorists driving into the centre of the capital.

Upfront investment

The latest study on Birmingham, compiled by a variety of transport experts, suggests that there should be upfront investment in public transport before the 2 charge is introduced.

Transport planner Peter Guest, who is advising Birmingham City Council, said: "Taking medicine to make you better is never popular.

Peter Guest
Peter Guest is advising Birmingham City Council
"The advice is that the city fathers have to work on an integrated package of measures so that as they try to discourage people away from their cars, the alternatives are there, of good quality and easy access."

The report will be considered by councillors from across the West Midlands on Wednesday.

Congestion charging in London, to be introduced by January 2003, is the centrepiece of the mayor Ken Livingstone's 10-year transport strategy.

The congestion charge will apply on weekdays between 0700 and 1900 and will be enforced by digital cameras able to read number plates.

Exempt vehicles

Local residents will be given a 90% reduction while the disabled, the emergency services, motorcyclists, minicabs, school buses and public transport will all be exempt.

The scheme aims to raise about 200m a year, much of which will be ploughed back into improving transport in the capital.

In Derbyshire, a scheme is in place to tackle tourism congestion generated by the popularity of the Peak District.

In Durham, there is a scheme to try to ease traffic near the city centre.

Meanwhile Bristol is proposing electronic tolling at 14 points around its city centre.

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10 Jul 01 | UK
Q&A: Congestion charges
28 Jul 00 | UK
London drivers face car tax
26 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Congestion charging faces jam
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