FTA welcomes vehicle charging Bill
The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the publication of a Parliamentary Bill that will introduce a charge for foreign-registered vehicles using UK roads. Under the HGV Road User Levy Bill all heavy goods vehicles of 12 tonnes and over will be required to pay a levy before being able to travel on UK roads. For UK operators the Bill confirms that this cost will be rebated through an equivalent reduction in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). Operators of foreign registered vehicles will be required to pay the levy at a daily, weekly, monthly or annual rate, depending upon how long they intend their vehicles to remain in the country.
James Hookham, FTA’s managing director of Policy & Communications said: “FTA has supported the idea of a charge on foreign vehicles for many years as a way of addressing at least partly the competitive differences between British registered operators and foreign-registered vehicles. However, there were important conditions attached to our support to avoid additional costs and burdens falling on UK operators, as the charge could not be applied to foreign vehicles alone. Today’s Bill and supporting documentation seem to deliver on the three main demands that FTA put forward during consultations, so we are giving this the thumbs up at this stage.” FTA’s three conditions of support, submitted in response to the consultation in January 2012 were:
- Condition 1: That the cost of the Levy must be fully recompensed for UK operators by an equivalent reduction in VED.
- Condition 2: That the cost and administrative burden of paying the Levy must be no greater than that involved in acquiring a VED disc.
- Condition 3: There must be meaningful and financially significant penalties for operators that evade the charge. (The Bill says there will be on-the-spot fines and a fine of up to £5,000 upon conviction in court).
James Hookham concluded: “Overall, we are pleased with the Government’s plans to address this long-standing disparity between UK and foreign vehicle costs. Our main concerns seem to have been met and we will investigate further outstanding issues with members at FTA’s National Council on 6 November.”