Road haulage charging scheme proposed25 January 2012

Plans to charge foreign hauliers to use UK roads were announced today (25 January) by the government. Roads minister Mike Penning says overseas hauliers should pay to use UK roads in the same way that British lorries are charged on European soil.

The minister said: "We want to ensure that UK hauliers get a fairer deal and help maintain the competitiveness of our logistics industry. Each year there are around 1.5 million trips to the UK by foreign registered lorries – but none of them pays to use our roads, leaving UK businesses and taxpayers to foot the bill.

"The proposals I have set out today will ensure that all hauliers who use our roads are contributing to their cost, regardless of where they are from."

The consultation includes plans for a time-based charge of around £10 a day for HGVs of 12 tonnes or over using any road in the UK. The precise charges will depend on exchange rate and inflation at the time of implementation – likely to be 2015.

By law, the scheme cannot discriminate between UK-registered vehicles and vehicles from elsewhere in the EU, so this charge will apply to all. However, this will not result in a cost for most UK hauliers, because the government plans to compensate them – probably by reducing vehicle excise duty for UK-registered vehicles.

Most EU states charge lorries for using their roads – a vehicle doing a two-day return trip from the UK to Belgium, Luxembourg or the Netherlands, for example, would pay €16 in user charges.

The government says its scheme would be cost-neutral for 94% of UK-registered HGVs of more than 12 tonnes – 4% would pay up to £50 a year more, and 2% could pay up to the maximum of £79 extra. The increases could be avoided, says the government, if vehicles were re-plated to carry a slightly reduced weight.

UK operators would pay an annual (or six-month) charge for each HGV when they pay the vehicle excise duty. Foreign hauliers could pay daily, weekly, monthly or annual charges.

The consultation is open until 18 April 2012: click on the link below.

Laura Cork

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