Currently the UK differs from many other EU states in that (with the odd exception such as the M6 optional toll road) the UK does not charge for use of its roads through toll systems or other user charging schemes. Coupled with that, the fact that most of the foreign HGV users of UK roads purchase their fuel from outside of the UK, it has long been felt that they do not contribute towards our highways yet use them extensively. The thinking behind the proposal is therefore to ensure fairer treatment for UK registered hauliers who must pay tolls and charges when outside of the UK.

Any scheme which is brought in cannot discriminate between UK registered HGV’s and HGV’s registered elsewhere in the EU and it will therefore be applicable to UK and non-UK HGV’s and it is proposed that it will apply to vehicles of 12 tonnes and over. A straight-forward time-based charge is proposed and UK hauliers would pay a six monthly or annual charge for each HGV they operate in the same transaction when they pay the vehicle excise duty to save on administration. The government is then also proposing to introduce some measures to offset the additional charges for UK hauliers through tax reductions or other appropriate spending measures to ensure fairness. It is these measures which have caused concern in the industry and whether they will be sufficient to ensure fairness for UK based operators.

The full response to the consultation is expected to be published later this year. If it all proceeds then it would be in the form of primary legislation and would create a new tax.