Plans to introduce "pay as you drive" congestion charges have caused a huge backlash across the country.

Under Government proposals, drivers would be charged up to £1.50 a mile to travel at peak times, with monthly bills sent to their homes through the post.

Such a scheme has already been mooted for the Chichester district and could eventually be introduced across the rest of Sussex.

Here, a leading environmentalist argues that congestion charging is essential but a representative of the county's motorists says it would be one tax too far.

YES - Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth senior transport campaigner

Friends of the Earth recognises we must act, and act now, to reduce road congestion.

Carbon dioxide emissions have risen by nearly seven per cent under Labour, while the cost of motoring fell by more than eight per cent in real terms between 1997 and 2005.

Over the same period, bus fares have risen by 14 per cent and train prices by five per cent, so there seems little incentive for people to leave their cars at home.

Road pricing is not a magic solution to Britain's transport problems but it is certainly part of the answer.

However, the biggest transport problem we face is not congestion, it is climate change.

Emissions from transport are growing and tough action is urgently needed to tackle them.

Road pricing should be part of a wider package of measures to tackle climate change and congestion, alongside increased investment in public transport, safer streets for cycling and walking and better planning.

These measures are needed now.

We cannot wait for the planned introduction of national road pricing in a decade before we give people better alternatives than the car.

Without road pricing, traffic levels will rise, congestion will get worse and transport's contribution to climate change will continue to grow.

The economy will also be hit hard by our gridlocked roads.

Opponents of road pricing should explain what they would do instead.

One traditional way of dealing with congestion is building more roads and widening yet more motorways.

But we simply cannot build ourselves out of the current road congestion.

It has been tried before and has failed.

It is time we faced the issue and came up with sustainable solutions to the transport challenges of the 21st Century.

In Rod Eddington's report to the Government in December, he argued that, provided it is well targeted, a national road pricing scheme could reduce congestion by some 50 per cent below what it would otherwise be in 2025.

Friends of the Earth is campaigning for the Government to ensure that its proposed climate change law cuts UK carbon dioxide emissions by at least three per cent each year.

The call for a new law has been led by Friends of the Earth through The Big Ask climate campaign.

NO - Nigel Humphries, Association of British Drivers

When the people of Edinburgh were given a chance to vote on road pricing, the council spent a fortune selling the idea.

Only those living within the proposed zone were allowed to vote, denying a voice to the people outside who would be worst affected.

Still the vote went firmly against the scheme.

Meanwhile, the M6 Toll has had almost no effect on the congestion it was supposed to relieve.

It remains a lightly used expressway for those who can afford the tolls or reclaim them on business expenses.

The London congestion charge has shown it is possible to raise a lot of money from road pricing but only in a unique area where motorists are wealthy and which is well served by public transport.

The jams are still there, of course, largely made up of buses and taxis.

And when you try to use what is laughably called the ring road you find out where the traffic from the centre has gone.

All of those are real examples that demonstrate people don't want road pricing and that such measures lead to road space being used less efficiently.

Chichester could become the first Sussex town to face congestion charging as West Sussex County Council has tried to launch a feasibility study into charging commuters to enter Chichester in the morning rush hour.

Perversely, its biggest supporters are the arrogant rich, who think it will clear the roads for them, and the road haulage lobby, which thinks it can pass on the extra costs more easily than those incurred by congestion.

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