Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Livingstone going for road tolls

I'm honoured to be joining the team on 'Anyone But Ken', so I thought I would crack on right away with this piece of news.

The Supplemental Toll Provisions Bill is the name of a proposed piece of legislation going through Parliament that Conservatives say will enable Transport for London (TfL) - Ken Livingstone - to make any road in London a toll road, allowing them to charge motorists at will for car journeys. TfL and the newt-loving Comrade deny this is the case, with a TfL spokesman quoted as saying:
'It gives us additional powers to collect and enforce tolls. It does not give us any powers to set tolls.'
Strictly speaking the TfL spokesman is right. But he is deliberately ignoring legislation that does allow TfL to set tolls - this Bill is designed to give teeth to that existing law. I am not a legislative expert, but from a layman's view a quick look at the provisons of the Bill suggests the Tories have got it dead right, and that should the Supplemental Toll Provisions Bill make it onto the statute book, TfL and the Mayor of London would be able to create and enforce road tolls throughout the capital.

In any case, despite Livingstone's denial (not that his word means anything after his lies about extending the congestion zone - see 18 Doughty Street Livingstone attack ads) the Tories know full well what powers might be conferred because they are not exactly short of legislative experience. TfL and Livingstone are not being honest. The preamble of the Bill clearly states:

(2) It is expedient that further provision be made in relation to the manner in which tolls chargeable under toll orders made by Transport for London under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (c. 22) ("TfL toll orders") are charged, collected, recorded, refunded and paid:

(3) It is expedient that provision be made enabling the imposition of penalty charges in respect of acts, omissions, events or circumstances relating to or connected with a TfL toll order:

(4) It is expedient that further provision be made in connection with the operation and enforcement of a TfL toll order:

(5) It is expedient that provision be made for the imposition of offences for acts and omissions in connection with a TfL toll order:

(6) It is expedient that Transport for London should have powers for the removal, immobilisation or destruction of motor vehicles in relation to the non-payment of penalty charges imposed in connection with a TfL toll order:
The underlined emphasis is mine. To me the section suggests that the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, used in conjunction with the Supplemental Toll Provisions Bill, could give Livingstone and TfL the power the Tories claim would result from successful passage through the House. If TfL can make toll orders and this new Bill gives them the right to enforce the tolls, then their denial is laughable. Why else would TfL want so desperately for this Bill to become law? Certainly not just for the sake of it.

Livingstone's London. Your little piece of Cuba nestling in the glorious south east of England...


morrocanroll said...

You might also consider that the bill allows the introduction of tolling equipment 'compatible with a national standard'

Did you know that we had a national standard for car tolling equipment?

Amusingly, this tolling equipment must not be 'detrimental' to the interests somebody living in England outside Greater London, according to my recollection of the bill.

I imagine a lot of local Labour MPs outside London have been beaten up in their surgeries thanks to Ken's enthusiasm for flinging fines around.

Worse still, the toll equipment (probably a charge card in the windscreen) can be examined and removed by a TFL official. Preventing the official from entering your vehicle could mean up to six months in jail.

Livingstone must be stopped.

London Salmon said...

As far as I'm concerned this does give him the power to do it. My reason? A little thing called a 'special road', as defined in the Highways Act 1980, which says it can be either a new road, or an existing road 'appropriated' by the relevant authority- in this case TfL. This is referred to in the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, and subsequently referred to in this Bill.

Hey presto, they can put a toll on any road in London.

Whenever the government or the Mayor deny they are seeking more power, or say 'oh, it's just a tidying up exercise', be afraid, be very afraid....

John East said...

According to National Statistics Online, average London pay last year was around £8,500 more than us low-lifes in the sticks managed to earn.

The difference is probably seen by Ken as rightfully his. £8/day plus road tolls of £1.34/mile would amount to £5000/year for a ten mile/day weekday commuter.

On these estimates you still owe the thief £3500, so I doubt he’s going to stop until he gets all the money he covets.