The Freight Transport Association has today welcomed the publication of a Parliamentary Bill that will introduce a charge for foreign-registered vehicles using UK roads.

Under the HGV Road User Levy Bill,  all heavy goods vehicles of 12 tonnes and over will be required to pay a levy before being able to travel on UK roads.

For UK operators, this cost will be rebated through an equivalent reduction in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). Operators of foreign registered vehicles will be required to pay the levy at a daily, weekly, monthly or annual rate, depending upon how long they intend their vehicles to remain in the country.

James Hookham, FTA’s Managing Director of Policy & Communications said: “FTA has supported the idea of a charge on foreign vehicles for many years as a way of addressing at least partly the competitive differences between British registered operators and foreign-registered vehicles. However, there were important conditions attached to our support to avoid additional costs and burdens falling on UK operators, as the charge could not be applied to foreign vehicles alone.

“The HGV Road User Levy  Bill seems to deliver on the three main demands that we put forward during consultations, so we are giving this the thumbs up at this stage.

“Overall, we are pleased with the Government’s plans to address this long-standing disparity between UK and foreign vehicle costs. Our main concerns seem to have been met and we will investigate further outstanding issues with members at our National Council meeting on 6 November.”

The Road Haulage Association also welcomed the statement on the Bill from Transport Minister Stephen Hammond  setting out firm plans to introduce an HGV charging scheme which will mean that, for the first time, foreign trucks will pay to use UK roads.

An RHA spokesman said; “The introduction by spring 2014 is especially welcome. This is a year earlier than set out in the consultation document and reflects strong lobbying by the RHA.We are pleased to see that VOSA will be targeting its enforcement in this area and the scale of the penalties available – £200 for a fixed penalty or deposit at the roadside; a Level 5 penalty of up to £5,000 upon summary conviction for failing to pay the levy.