RAC Foundation calls for motorists to be charged by the mile to avoid gridlock in future

‘Pay as you go’ roads are ‘inevitable’ if Britain is to avoid coming to a standstill in the coming decades, a motoring thinktank has warned.

A report by the RAC Foundation is calling for motorists to be charged per mile in return for a cut in fuel duty and road tax.

It says that constraints on public finances will mean a shrinking budget for road maintenance, while population growth and economic recovery will cause a 33% increase in road traffic by 2025.

A ‘pay as you go’ system would help pay for road maintenance and reduce the cost of the road network to the Treasury, the report argues.

It would make drivers think harder about their journeys, reducing congestion and pollution.

It also says that selling off the road network could raise large amounts of revenue for the Treasury, and that a privatised road network could pay for its own upkeep.

The report comes after Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said that the roads budget would be dramatically slashed.

He told the Andrew Marr show yesterday: “There’s going to be much, much less money available for new roads.

“We will have to focus first and foremost on maintaining the roads we have got. What we mustn’t do is allow our existing infrastructure to fall into decay. We have a huge backlog of maintenance.”

The RAC Foundation was founded by the RAC motoring organisation in 1991, but in 1999 became an independent charity.