By Faye Sunderland 25 January 2012
Plans for a road user charging scheme for hauliers has been welcomed by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) as a chance to create a fairer deal of British firms.
The proposals for the charge were announced this morning by Roads Minister Mike Penning as part of aims to address industry concerns and criticisms about unfair running costs faced by UK haulage firms. Most EU states charge lorries for using their roads which means that British vehicles have to pay to drive in Europe, while foreign lorries can drive for free in the UK.
“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,” said RHA Head of Communications, Kate Gibbs.
“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.”
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 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 proposed scheme will levy a time-based charge of around £10 a day for lorries of 12 tonnes or over using any road in the UK. The precise level of charges will depend on exchange rate and inflation at the time of implementation – likely to be 2015, the DfT says.
By law, the scheme cannot discriminate between UK-registered vehicles and vehicles from elsewhere in the EU so this charge will apply to all lorries but, for the vast majority of UK hauliers, this will not mean an increase in costs because the Government proposes to compensate them for the charge.
The most likely compensation measure will be a reduction in Vehicle Excise Duty for UK-registered vehicles.
For 94 per cent of UK-registered HGVs over 12 tonnes, hauliers would not pay any more than now. Four per cent would pay no more than £50 a year more and a further 2 per cent would pay slightly over £50, but the maximum extra cost would be £79. Even these small increases could be avoided by most vehicles if they were re-plated to carry a slightly reduced weight.
Under the plans, UK hauliers would pay an annual (or six month) charge for each HGV at the same time and in the same transaction as they pay its Vehicle Excise Duty. Foreign hauliers could pay daily, weekly, monthly or annual charges.
Categories: Department for Transport
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