Foreign hauliers are being charged to use UK roads for the first time as of this week (1 April 2014). UK truck drivers working in Europe currently pay tolls and levies when delivering goods abroad however prior to now, foreign trucks operating in the UK have not been required to make a similar payment.
In October 2012 the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government published the HGV Road User Levy Bill (Bill 77 of 2012/13). The main features of the Bill passed through Parliament without amendment and it received Royal Assent on 28 February 2013. The Levy introduces a charge that ensures British hauliers are better able to compete with their foreign counterparts. The levy has long been called for by the UK haulage industry and supporters of the Bill suggests it creates a fairer system by removing some of the inequality UK hauliers feel when paying to use many roads abroad. The levy began operating from 1 April 2014.
The Act provides for a scheme with the following features:
- the levy would apply to both foreign and UK registered hauliers with vehicles weighing more than 12 tonnes;
- the maximum daily charge would be the equivalent of €11 (subject to change) and would be set in accordance with Vehicle Excise Duty bands;
- UK hauliers would receive an offset in their Vehicle Excise Duty so that they would be no better or worse off from the implementation of the levy;
- it would be an offence not to pay the levy, for which the maximum fine would be £5,000.
The levy affects all HGVs of 12 tonnes or more that drive on UK roads, irrespective of country of registration. The levy is structured in a series of bands which reflect vehicle type, weight and number of axles. UK operators will pay the levy at the same time as Vehicle Excise Duty in one transaction but foreign operators must pay the levy before using UK roads.