Privatising the Roads – A Vision of the Future…

It’s an unspecified number of years from now. In 2012 private investment was sought to fund Britain’s road network.  When the companies demanded to make a profit, the not-privatisation-at-all-no-siree deals became pure privatisation.  Now more than 90% of Britain’s road network is in private hands.  Somewhere on a remote Scottish island, a family plans their holiday…

“So, we book the car onto the ferry, drive through Aberdeen then south, yes?”

“Yep.  With the ferry crossing we get 10% off the BP fees for using Aberdeen’s roads.  That’s good until Perth when Tesco takes over.”

“Okay, but we’ll get the clubcard points on the mileage from there to Glasgow?”

“Or Edinburgh, yep.”

“Right.  Then we’ve got a choice to make.  Edinburgh or Glasgow?”

Maps are consulted, comparetheroadprices.com consulted.

“If we go Edinburgh we’ll lose the Tesco roads when we hit the Forth Road Bridge.  There’ll be the toll for that, the Edinburgh Tram Consortium toll for using the ringroad but we can use our National Trust Membership when we get to the A1.”

Collective intake of breath.  Since the National Trust took over the A1 they’ve maintained it as they do every historic monument – exactly as it was at whatever date they considered it’s “peak”.  That means very little dual carriageway between Edinburgh and the English border and all that lovely 4-lane stuff through Yorkshire’s been rolled back to 2.

“Not pleasant, but it’s cheaper than taking the Shell M74.”

“But that’s faster.  Plus we’re aiming for Hexham, it doesn’t matter which side of the country we go down.”

“Alright, say we take the Shell road.  Who owns that after the English border?”

“Er, the map doesn’t say.  Must still be a public road.”

“That’ll mean roadworks for most of the way.  Not pleasant either.  What about the A64?”

“That’s all owned by the logging companies.”

“So lots of freight but a good road, then?”

“Definitely.”

“Okay.  So it’s looking like BP, Tesco, ETC, National Trust, loggers.  Only one thing left to organise.”

“What’s that?”

“The visas.  We’re visiting England, after all. “