M6 Toll not the answer to easing congestion, says boss
The M6 Toll is not the answer to cutting congestion on the wider motorway network, its boss has suggested, as he defended recent price hikes.
The toll road, which runs close to Cannock, has come under increased focus in recent months, with politicians calling for charges to be reduced to encourage more drivers to use it and in turn ease the pressure on the M6 and M5, and cut pollution.
But chief executive Andy Cliffe has hit back at the critics of the toll road, which he said was "doing its job" in taking 50,000 vehicles off surrounding roads every day.
He also suggested price reductions which have been called for were not realistic - but insisted there were plenty of discounts on offer to drivers who regularly use the toll.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street is among local politicians who have called for tariffs to be lowered, particularly for HGV drivers.
Mr Cliffe admitted there was more M6 Toll bosses could do to help take traffic off the M6 but said he did not believe making the road more accessible was the only solution.
He said: "It is important to draw the distinction between what is on the M6 - it is very short distance local traffic getting on at (junction) 10 and getting off at 8. I am not necessarily a natural alternative for some of that traffic. What the M6 has become is a local city commuter road coming off some of the adjacent roads.
"The bigger question is how do we manage traffic more generally. I think there is more we can do but we have to recognise a large part of what is on the M6 is very local so there is only so much that can be done. About 80 per cent of M6 Toll is long distance and about 80 per cent of the M6 is very local."
He added: "We take about 50,000 vehicles a day off the M6 so if you go back to what it was built for it is doing that job."