The Case for Congestion Charging


David Begg & David Gray

Published: September 2002


Car use has grown significantly in the UK in recent years, raising concerns about pollution and congestion. Although existing fiscal measures have been effective in tackling the former, the UK now has the worst traffic congestion in Europe. The economic costs of congestion are considerable, and motorists are not covering the external costs of the congestion they cause. Although local charging schemes are set to be introduced, local authorities first need to implement a daunting list of requisites. The paper argues that there is more economic merit in introducing a nation-wide system of congestion charging. Congestion would be cut by 44% and overall traffic levels by 5%. Importantly, the scheme would not increase the overall tax burden on motorists.



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