Reading fragments of the congestion charge area due to ‘limited benefits’

Plans to introduce a congestion charge in Reading have been scrapped.

It comes after Reading Borough Council said the current climate emergency required “radical new proposals”.

Transport boss Tony Page thought a workplace parking levy or clean air zone could prevent the town being used as a shortcut by drivers.

The authority has now said an investigation has proved it would have “limited environmental and financial benefits”.

The idea was originally proposed in March last year and formed part of a draft Local Transport Strategy, which aimed to tackle poor air quality and congestion.

It suggested charging employers who provided parking at work and high-polluting vehicles travelling into the town centre.

‘Top concern’

A report presented to the council’s strategic environment, planning and transport committee found improvements to air quality using these methods would be “marginal,” according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Mr Page said air quality was a “top concern” for the council and it was “very seriously” considering a flat rate on any vehicle driving from Oxfordshire through Reading without stopping.

Opposition councillors added the air quality issue in Reading should not be “ignored”.

Committee members suggested insufficient data was available because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the idea “should be revisited”.

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