Tom Henderson, Senior Associate in the Government &
Infrastructure department of Bircham Dyson Bell LLP believes that
recent Government moves to explore road privatisation might be a
first step towards the introduction of more widespread road
"The strategic road network is in need of new
investment to alleviate congestion at key pinch points and improve
standards of maintenance and clearly public finance is in short
supply," explains Tom.
"For that reason the proposals are to be welcomed,
though the devil will be in the detail. History suggests that the
privatisation of key infrastructure has not been without its
problems, and it will require a strong regulator to ensure that the
public interest is protected.
"The Government has stated that new infrastructure may
be tolled, but given that all evidence suggests tolls are a vote
loser, it has been careful to distinguish this from the existing
"So on the face of it widespread road tolling seems a
long way off. However, most economists would argue that the basic
principle of road pricing stacks up. To address issues of fairness,
road pricing could be offset by changes to other road taxes, and
the technology is sophisticated enough to differentiate pricing
according to the time and route travelled.
"In my view road pricing is desirable and in any event
inevitable, as congestion worsens and alternative fuels become
widespread in use. The Government has ducked the issue of
widespread road pricing for now, but it will have to return to it.
Perhaps the rolling out of road pricing for selected new routes and
lanes will be a first step in the process, by bringing
sophisticated road pricing technology into everyday use, and
exposing motorists to the principle on a wider
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
There has been a steady stream of decisions emanating from the Court of Session on procurement challenges in the last couple of years, one of which was the application by the Scottish Ministers to have the automatic suspension of the award of the contract for the Northern Isles ferry service lifted.
A new model services contract has recently been published by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS), part of the Cabinet Office.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”