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Transport Act 2000

Sections 163 to 167: Charging schemes

144.Section 163 enables road user charging schemes to be introduced by:

  • local traffic authorities outside London, acting either singly, or jointly with another local traffic authority or authorities, or with a London traffic authority or authorities (ie Transport for London, or London borough councils or the Common Council of the City of London) and;

  • by the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales (NAW).

Section 163 also provides that the registered keeper of a vehicle will be responsible for paying road user charges, but allows the Secretary of State or NAW to specify other persons in certain circumstances through regulations. This would, for example, provide for the transfer of liability to the hirer, where a vehicle is subject to a valid hiring agreement.

145.Sections 164 and 165 provide that charging schemes made by local authorities may only apply to roads for which the charging authority or authorities are the traffic authority, and that charging schemes can be introduced only in support of a local transport plan (see paragraphs 83 to 88). Section 166, which relates to joint local authority – London charging schemes, also provides that charging can occur only on the roads for which the participating authorities are the relevant traffic authorities, and that the scheme must support both the local transport plan(s) of the non-metropolitan authority or authorities, and the London Mayor’s statutory transport strategy.

146.Section 167 sets out the two cases where charging can be introduced on trunk roads by the Secretary of State or the NAW. The first of these is charging on trunk road bridges and tunnels of at least 600m in length. This is to allow for future cases where charging may be an option for making expensive new structures affordable, and for continued tolling on crossings when the current tolling powers are due for renewal. The Government has no plans to introduce charging on existing bridges and tunnels which are not already tolled. The second case is where a local traffic authority requests the Secretary of State or the NAW to charge on a stretch of trunk road, in order to complement a local road user charging scheme.

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