Foreign lorries should pay to use our roads, says FTA

Simon Chapman
Chief Economist at FTA
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Post date: Friday, 27th January 2012

Commenting on a government consultation on a proposed road user charging scheme for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) of 12 tonnes and over, Simon Chapman of the FTA says foreign lorries should pay their way on UK roads – but safeguards are needed.

Foreign lorries don’t contribute a penny to Treasury coffers, leaving the taxpayer to foot the bill for the external costs they cause.

To compound the situation, foreign trucks fill up with diesel bought outside the UK, where fuel duty is far lower, so not only do they avoid contributing to the UK economy at the pumps, they also put domestic companies at a massive commercial disadvantage.

Clearly, ensuring that foreign lorries pay to use our roads is the right thing to do, after all many UK hauliers spend thousands every year on using roads in Europe via different road user charging schemes.

The proposal recognises that for this system to work it needs to be both revenue neutral and not administratively burdensome for UK hauliers.

The proposal to ask for payment from UK hauliers at Vehicle Excise Duty renewal time is sensible. But as ever the Devil is in the detail and FTA will be making sure that the final proposal works for, and not against, the industry.

The government is proposing to introduce charges for the use of the UK road network by heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) of 12 tonnes and over, fulfilling a commitment in the coalition programme for government. The objective is to ensure a fairer arrangement for UK hauliers.

Currently, foreign-registered HGVs do not pay to use the general road network in the UK, whereas UK-registered HGVs pay charges or tolls in most European countries.

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