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Government calls for foreign lorries to pay their way on British roadsBack

A new government proposal to charge foreign lorries for using UK roads has been welcomed by the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

The new scheme should mean a fairer system for domestic freight operators, but the FTA has warned that the proposal must not bring extra administrative costs to UK businesses.

The proposal will mean that foreign vehicles over 12 tonnes will pay a charge to use Britain’s roads, which will hopefully be in line with the costs which lorry drivers have to pay in order to use roads across Europe.

Simon Chapman, FTA’s Chief Economist, said: “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.”

Chapman went on to describe how the proposal put forward must be “revenue neutral” and not cause any additional administrative burden to UK hauliers of British taxpayers. The plan to ask for payment from UK hauliers at Vehicle Excise Duty renewal time has been welcomed, but the FTA will be working closely with the government to ensure that the final proposal works for the industry and not against it.

Not only do foreign hauliers currently have the advantage of travelling on Britain’s roads for free, they also have the added cost-advantage of being able to purchase diesel prior to entering the UK which means they have been able to undercut domestic rates charged by UK hauliers when it comes to business.

Chapman concluded: “A lorry road user charge will go some way to assuage industry fears over threats from Europe that restrictions governing the number of freight movements allowed in a foreign country could be removed.

“This ticks the right boxes in terms of fairness, firmness and forward thinking on future competitive challenges that the UK haulage industry may face.”

 

 

Posted by Leana Kell on 26/01/2012