Thursday, January 4, 2018

UK Road User Levy Changes May See Road Haulage Companies Subject to Pay per Mile Technology

Government Considering Alternative Revenue Streams and Emissions are in Its Sights
Shipping News Feature
UK – The news that Transport Minister Chris Grayling is 'considering' a scheme to introduce pay per mile technology for heavy good vehicles was slipped out just before Christmas when he denied that a similar system for private motorists was being looked at by the government during a BBC interview. The revelation has however prompted an immediate response from freight transport and road haulage interests.

The government is apparently concerned that the previously very reliable income from fuel duty is starting to fall with the rapid advances in technology. Whilst electric and hybrid vehicles become more popular so traditional combustion engine vehicles have become more efficient, seriously cutting revenues, and introducing a ‘pay to use’ system would be seen as fairer by many than other possible money raising options.

Apparently emissions are another suitable target and it would be easy for central government to mirror the toxicity parameters used by cities such as London, gauging the costs by the EU engine designation. Road Haulage Association (RHA) boss Richard Burnett pointed out that any changes or extensions to the current HGV levy system need to be revenue neutral for hauliers, by targeting trucks alone there is the need to ensure UK registered lorries are competing on a level playing field with foreign counterparts.

Since 1 April 2014 all HGVs at or above 12 tonnes gross weight using UK roads have been required to pay the ‘HGV road user levy’. The levy ensures all such HGVs contribute to the costs of UK road maintenance and removes some of the inequality UK hauliers feel when paying to use many roads abroad. The HGV levy on foreign drivers raised £46.5 million in the first year of operation to March 2015 (and £146 million from UK-registered vehicles which mostly had the cost of their vehicle excise duty (VED) reduced accordingly).

When questioned a government spokesperson said that there were no official plans in place to introduce road pricing whilst pointing out that HGV’s cause more wear to roads engendering extra costs which, together with intended emissions targets, were the reasons a study was being undertaken.