Government Finally Taxes Foreign Lorries

Thursday, February 16, 2012 Print Email

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) – which represents 7,200 firms running a total fleet of over 80,000 lorries – has welcomed the government’s proposals to charge foreign trucks for using UK roads.

The move, announced by transport minister Mike Penning, marks a significant victory for the British trucking industry which has long complained about the inequity of having to pay to use Europe’s road network while their continental cousins have free reign on the UK’s roads.

Under the plans - which if ratified, will be introduced in 2014/15 - a time-based charge of around £10 a day for lorries of 12 tonnes or over using any UK road, will be levied.

An RHA spokeswoman said: ‘This scheme is good news for UK transport operators and should be welcomed also by motorists, many of whom have complained that foreign hauliers pay nothing for using our roads.

‘The RHA has been working with government officials to get the best scheme possible under EU rules and we believe this is what the new proposals represent. We are urging ministers to press forward with this project as a priority, both in terms of parliamentary time and commercial dealings, so that the original deadline of spring 2014 start-up can be met.’

By law, the scheme cannot discriminate between UK-registered vehicles and those registered in the EU, so the charge will apply to all lorries. But for the vast majority of UK hauliers, the government proposes to compensate them for the charge, most likely through a reduction in Vehicle Excise Duty for UK-registered vehicles.

Roads minister Mike Penning 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 pay to use our roads, leaving UK businesses and taxpayers to foot the bill.’

The consultation runs until 18 April 2012.

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