HGV Road User Levy Act becomes law, ready for 2014 04 March 2013

The HGV Road User Levy Act became law last Friday (28 February 2013), paving the way for what the Department for Transport says a fairer deal for UK hauliers.

Roads Minister Stephen Hammond points out that most EU states already charge lorries for using their roads, which means that British vehicles have to pay to drive in Europe, while to date foreign lorries have been able to drive in the UK without paying for the wear and tear they cause on the roads.

The new charge is supported by UK businesses and will be introduced in April 2014. The levy will be a time-based charge of up to £1,000 a year, or £10 a day, and will apply to trucks weighing more than 12 tonnes.

By law, the scheme cannot discriminate between UK-registered vehicles and vehicles from elsewhere in the EU so the charge will apply to all HGVs but, for the vast majority of UK hauliers, this will not mean an increase in costs, because they will be compensated through a reduction in vehicle excise duty.

"This new act will help the UK logistics industry remain competitive by making sure that operators from abroad are paying towards the cost of building and maintaining the UK's roads, as well as creating a level playing field for domestic operators," states Hammond.

The FTA (Freight Transport Association) has welcomed the new law. "FTA has supported the idea of a charge on foreign vehicles for many years as a way of partly addressing the competitive differences between British registered operators and foreign-registered vehicles," states James Hookham, FTA's managing director of policy & communications.

"There were important conditions attached to our support to avoid additional costs and burdens falling on UK operators, as the charge could not be applied to foreign vehicles alone – and, so far, these have been met," he continues.

"The next key event is the Chancellor's Budget Statement on 20 March when the new reduced VED [Vehicle Excise Duty] rates will be announced. We will be watching to make sure that UK operators are not disadvantaged."

UK hauliers will pay an annual or a six-monthly charge for each lorry at the same time and in the same transaction as they pay its VED. Foreign hauliers can pay daily, weekly, monthly or annual charges. Non-payment of the charge will be a criminal offence, which could result in a fine of up to £5,000.

Author
Brian Tinham

Related Companies
Department for Transport
Freight Transport Association Ltd

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