Page last updated at 17:37 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 18:37 UK

Town 'must' consider road pricing

Reading's inner distribution road
Plans to turn the IDR into a one-way system faced widespread opposition

Reading should abandon plans to turn its ring road into a one-way system and urgently consider road pricing, a report has concluded.

The controversial 8m plan was dropped last September and in its wake the Reading Independent Transport Commission was established.

The commission, which looked at solving the town's transport problems, published its findings on Tuesday.

The report also recommended building a third River Thames crossing.

It found that Reading's roads were a victim of the town's economic success.

Reading Borough Council had hoped to turn its inner distribution road (IDR) into a giant one-way system.

But public opposition and the threat of legal action from neighbouring Wokingham Borough Council forced it to drop the plan last year.

Commission findings
Abandon one-way IDR.
"Urgently consider" road pricing.
Case for a third Thames crossing "is very persuasive".
Discourage car access to a redeveloped Reading train station.
Develop guided bus proposals.
Not sensible to reduce fares on public transport but develop Oyster card approach instead.
"Urgent need" for "attractively priced" park and ride around the town.
Improve town cycle storage and promote walking.
Improve enforcement of traffic regulations.
Council needs to rebuild trust with community focusing on "interests of citizens rather than political groups".

Instead, the independent commission led by Sir Brian Briscoe - a former chief executive of the Local Government Association - found Reading is "a town struggling to be a city".

It said Reading council should "urgently examine the case for managing demand by road pricing" - not a simple congestion charge model, but a "more sophisticated charging regime" with resident exemptions or concessions and non-peak retail concessions.

The report is the result of a six month study including 10 public hearings.

It concluded there had been a conflict between the rate of economic growth and the rate of infrastructure provision.

Sir Brian, said: "We are grateful to the people of Reading who gave time and thought to these challenging problems.

"Our Recommendations are not easy options for local politicians and we recognise that there will be controversy about them.

"We are clear that doing nothing is not an option and we urge politicians and the public in Reading and its surroundings to shape the future to avoid economic and environmental decline."

Town's one-way ring road scrapped
12 Sep 07 |  Berkshire
Brakes on one-way town ring road
05 Jun 07 |  Berkshire
One-way ring road gets go ahead
20 Mar 07 |  Berkshire
Legal challenge to ring-road plan
26 Sep 06 |  Berkshire
Green light for one-way ring road
08 Sep 06 |  Berkshire
One-way ring-road plan detailed
21 Feb 06 |  Berkshire

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