Business, Freight News, Logistics, Road

Penning unveils lorry charging plan

[ January 25, 2012   //   ]

The UK government has announced details of its promised lorry road user charging scheme. The charge, which is billed creating a fairer deal for UK hauliers compared with those from other EU member states, would levy a time-based charge of around up to £10 a day for lorries of 12 tonnes or over using any road in the UK. However, the precise charges will depend on exchange rate and inflation at the time of implementation – likely to be 2015, subject to the legislative programme. Under the plans, UK hauliers would pay an annual (or six month) charge for each HGV at the same time and in the same transaction as they pay its Vehicle Excise Duty. Foreign hauliers could pay daily, weekly, monthly or annual charges.


The charging levels must comply with the Eurovignette Directive which sets out maximum daily charges. Non-payment of the user charge would be a criminal offence, which could result in a fine of up to £1,000. The user charge would be enforced by DVLA records, ANPR cameras and checks by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency at the roadside. VOSA would also be able to issue fixed penalties on the spot to non-compliant drivers and take financial deposits from drivers based outside the UK.

The charge will apply to all lorries as, under EU law, the scheme cannot discriminate between UK-registered vehicles and vehicles from elsewhere in the EU but the vast majority of UK hauliers would be compensated for the charge under the government’s proposals, most likely through a reduction in Vehicle Excise Duty for UK-registered vehicles. That means that 94% of UK-registered HGVs over 12 tonnes would not pay any more than now, according to the Government’s calculations. Some 4% would pay no more than £50 a year more and a further 2% would pay slightly over £50, but the maximum extra cost would be £79, it says – and these increases could mostly be avoided by replating to a slightly reduced weight.

Roads Minister Mike Penning said: “We want to ensure that UK hauliers get a fairer deal and help maintain the competitiveness of our logistics industry. Each year there are around 1.5 million trips to the UK by foreign registered lorries – but none of them pays to use our roads, leaving UK businesses and taxpayers to foot the bill.

The Road Haulage Association welcomed the proposals, saying: “This scheme is good news for UK transport operators. The RHA has been working with government officials to get the best scheme possible under EU rules and we believe this is what the new proposals represent. We are urging ministers to press forward with this project as a priority, both in terms of Parliamentary time and commercial dealings, so that the original deadline of spring 2014 start-up can be met.”

Consultation on the plan will run until 18 April- see