Environment & Transport

The Road from Inequity

Town traffic causes by far the bulk of the congestion, pollution, accidents, and noise nuisance of driving - all of which cost society seven times what urban motorists pay in taxes. Rural drivers, by contrast, are overcharged three times for their use of the roads. For heavy vehicles in urban areas during peak-hours this discrepancy is even higher, claims the report, which proposes a £15 billion cut in the revenue collected in fuel duty, vehicle taxes and VAT. People driving in towns, however, would pay tolls averaging 5.6p per mile, with charges much higher at peak times and for high-polluting heavy vehicles.

Read it here.

Response to the CAA

The Adam Smith Institute has told the Civil Aviation Authority that UK airports are over-regulated and under-competitive. This report by former airport director David Stanley says that the CAA should focus on safety regulation, that UK airports should be opened up to more competition, and that the economic regulation of airports should be passed to a new, independent regulator.

Read it here.

Don't stop the Bus

Bus services would be more efficient if local transport officials, who seem bent on reversing the deregulation of the last decade, just got out of the way and let private bus companies manage things more freely, an international expert on transport argues. A government so committed to competition should reject highly regulated European-style 'franchise' systems that prevail in London, the report maintains.

Download PDF 

Charging ahead: making road user charging work in the UK

This detailed report from the Institute's Trafficflow project team explores the equipment and policy requirements to make congestion charging work in major cities. How much does congestion cost? Why must a charging scheme be electronic rather than paper based? How can the technology be made affordable? How much importance should be given to simplicity, flexibility, public opinion, privacy and bolt on services that make life better for road users?

Read it here.

Forests for the People

The public forest estate no longer serves a public purpose. It occupies 10% of the area of Great Britain and over 15% of the rural area of mainland Scotland. All of this is outside local control. Over the last eighty years the national forest policy has been a complete failure and the Forestry Commission is to blame. There has been no return on investment, no commercial value and worst has failed to deliver on any of its objectives. The authors claim that the public forest estate should be freed from government constraints and protection. The woodlands should be returned gratis to the residents of the communities of which they could then become part.

Miles Saltiel is an investment banker with experience of the privatizations of Eastern Europe. Allan Stewart MP is a former Minister of State at the Scottish Office.

Read the full paper here.