4 April 2014

This week's introduction of the HGV Road User Levy is being hailed as good news by British freight operators but has been given the thumbs down by a leading sustainable transport group.

Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) said that the initiative, which will see visiting hauliers legally required to contribute to the cost of the UK's roads for the first time, was too little too late.

CBT's Philippa Edmunds said: "This charging system is a first step, but by introducing a time-based, rather than a distance-based, system, the Government has missed an opportunity to create a level playing field for UK hauliers and make road freight more efficient and sustainable."

A proper distance-based system would have provided an incentive to logistics operators to get better efficiency out of their HGVs, she explained, resulting in safer, cleaner and less congested roads and providing an opportunity to charge foreign lorries properly.

However, RHA Director of Policy Jack Semple said that the Government had done what is possible, within EU law.

Karen Dee, FTA Director of Policy, said that it had consistently supported the introduction of the HGV Road User Levy and that, while it will not fully redress the imbalance in costs, it does create a fairer arrangement for UK operators.

"Road charges and tolls are part and parcel of operating a truck on the continent," she pointed out. "It is only right that foreign HGVs using UK roads should do the same."

The FTA also believes that the extension of the roadside enforcement camera network offers the potential for more effective enforcement of foreign HGV safety standards.