The petition opposing Tony Blair's proposal to introduce road pricing and vehicle tracking closed last night and the 1.8 million signatories all received an email, supposedly from the Prime Minister, explaining why their opposition is misguided.
The email thanks people for taking part in the exercise and promises: "Before we take any decisions there would be further consultations."
It lays out the government's view that congestion is a big problem and only likely to get worse if action is not taken. It points out that any nationwide scheme is at least 10 years away and that the limited local schemes will give a better idea of its practical impact and cost. The email also makes clear that the introduction of road pricing means "there could be a case for moving away from the current system of motoring taxation".
A Reg reader who sent us the mail made the following comments:
I'm not quite sure why it was sent at five to two on a Tuesday night, then again, I'm not sure why I'm checking my email at five to two on a Tuesday night. I think this further proves my theory that the government is in fact run by Australians.
On a more serious note, he does make some reasonable points, such as this scheme being more than 10 years from implementation. Also that there will be measures to ensure that people's privacy will be protected, which I think is the main reason most people were concerned about the scheme.
Rumour has it that roads minister Stephen Ladyman will engage in a web chat on Thursday.
Finally, thank you to reader Richard Lamont who pointed out that his email client was quick to identify the email. The message read: "Thunderbird thinks this message is junk." Indeed.
For your delectation and delight, the whole email is here. ®