Scots drivers could pay to use M8 motorway through Glasgow in bid to tackle climate change

Drivers could face tolls when using the M8 through Glasgow in the future under proposals to help Scotland meet its ambitious Net Zero targets.

The Scottish Government recently published a consultation on how to reduce the total distance traveled by cars by 20 per cent by the end of the decade.

One option under consideration by transport chiefs is reintroducing tolls on the busiest routes across the country.

Local authorities already have the powers to set tolls – but no council has considered such a plan since Edinburgh dropped its controversial congestion charge scheme in 2005.

But the need to tackle climate change – and meet the Scottish Government’s stringent Net Zero targets – have caused a change in thinking.

Glasgow City Council told the Record it needs “to strongly contribute to this national target” as it is the largest settlement in the country – and has two motorways and associated support roads within its boundaries.

The section of the M8 through Cowcaddens and Charing Cross is one of the most congested stretches of road in the country and concerns have been repeatedly raised about its environmental impact.

Glasgow MSP Paul Sweeney previously branded the motorway a “danger to public health”.

A public petition calling for the Scottish Government to “investigate options for removing and reducing the impact of the central Glasgow section of the M8” attracted more than 1,500 signatures when it was shared last year.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council said: “The Scottish Government has recently published a consultation on how to reduce car use in Scotland as a whole, with a target of reducing the distance traveled by cars by 20 per cent by 2030, and it references the need to tackle the cost of motoring within this context and commits to further research on pricing.

“Glasgow City Council’s transport policies also reflect and support this as we need to strongly contribute to this national target as Scotland’s largest city – plus we must tackle the role of vehicles in climate change and their associated greenhouse gas emissions, to help achieve our goal of becoming a net zero carbon city by 2030.

“Our transport policies are aiming to try to tackle the role of the car in Glasgow, whilst proactively improving alternatives that are better for us and our environment.

“Our policy advocates a national and/or regional approach to road user pays.

“We welcome the recent Strategic Transport Projects Review 2 publication that proposes a regional Clyde Metro scheme which would play a strong role in helping to reduce the need for car travel within the region and city.

“We also have a desire to deliver a significant change in active travel infrastructure and enhance bus services in the city amongst other sustainable transport interventions.”

Transport Scotland said it was committed to plan to reduce the total distance traveled by cars by 20 per cent.

A spokesman added it was “exploring a range of equitable options for demand management to discourage car use, including pricing”.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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