Government plans to introduce a national road pricing scheme could be jeopardized by local schemes, according to a leading logistics body.

Natalie Chapman, Head of Policy for the south at Logistics UK, said that a ‘proportionate and joined-up approach’ to road user charging is essential. ‘Any London-specific road charging scheme must be flexible and adapt to the possible introduction of any future national road charging schemes to avoid fragmentation of regulations,’ she said.

Chapman was speaking after it emerged that the Mayor of London had asked Transport for London (TfL) to investigate a road pricing scheme for the capital, while Scotland is also considering a similar scheme for helping it meet climate targets.

Research from Fleet News suggests that 55% of fleet decision-makers support a road pricing scheme based on miles driven. MPs say it represents the only way to successfully plug a huge shortfall in revenue from the transition to electric vehicles. A Transport Committee report suggested that revenues from fuel duty and excise duty will fall by between £28-35 billion, with significant implications for transport investment projects.

Huw Merriman MP, chair of the Transport Committee, believes it is time to have an “honest conversation” on motoring taxes.

‘Innovative technology could deliver a national road-pricing scheme which prices up a journey based on the amount of road, and type of vehicle, used.’

Previous attempts at introducing a national road pricing taxation scheme have foundered, but a combination of economics and sustainability has pushed the issue back onto the agenda. Fleet operators, however, are concerned that a patchwork of local schemes across the UK will be counter-productive, with drivers in different parts of the country being charged and some not.

Logistics UK feels that any new charging system should be ‘fair, proportionate and provide businesses with the certainty they need’ to plan their long term investments into alternative fuelled vehicles.