The HGV Road User Levy Act became law on 28 February 2013 paving the way for a fairer deal for UK hauliers.
Most EU states already charge lorries for using their roads which means that British vehicles have to pay to drive in Europe, while foreign lorries can drive in the UK without paying for the wear and tear they cause on the roads.
The new charge is supported by UK businesses and will be introduced in April 2014. The levy will be a time-based charge of up to £1,000 a year or £10 a day and will apply to lorries weighing more than 12 tonnes, using UK roads.
By law, the scheme cannot discriminate between UK-registered vehicles and vehicles from elsewhere in the EU so this charge will apply to all lorries but, for the vast majority of UK hauliers, this will not mean an increase in costs as they will be compensated through a reduction in vehicle excise duty.
Roads Minister Stephen Hammond said:
Every 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. In contrast, when UK hauliers travel abroad then in most cases they have to pay to use the roads.
This new act will help the UK logistics industry remain competitive by making sure that operators from abroad are paying towards the cost of building and maintaining the UK’s roads as well as creating a level playing field for domestic operators.
UK hauliers will pay an annual or a 6 monthly charge for each lorry at the same time and in the same transaction as they pay its Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). Foreign hauliers can pay daily, weekly, monthly or annual charges. Non-payment of the charge will be a criminal offence, which could result in a fine of up to £5,000.