Hauliers welcome road charging plans

Plans to introduce an HGV charging scheme have been hailed as "good news" for British hauliers.

The Government has confirmed it will press ahead with the proposals which will see all large vehicles charged £1,000 for the right to use roads in the UK.

The charge will apply to both British and foreign lorry drivers, though those with vehicles registered in the UK will see the charge deducted from UK Vehicle Excise Duty.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) said the plan was about as much as the Government could do within European Union law in terms of road charging to "level the playing field".

A spokesman for the hauliers organisation said the payments made by foreign truckers would go some way to addressing the disadvantages faced by British firms which, he said, paid the highest level of diesel in the EU, adding more money to the cost of running their businesses.

The go-ahead was officially confirmed by Transport Minister Stephen Hammond, who revealed that the aim was to bring in the fee in early 2014. This is earlier than previously anticipated and follows extensive lobbying from the RHA to bring the schedule forward.

The levels of fines planned were also unveiled, with truckers facing a £200 fixed penalty at the roadside, rising to a much higher £5,000 penalty upon summary conviction if the company fails to pay the charge.

RHA director of policy, Jack Semple, said the group's members had given strong backing for the scheme, and he congratulated ministers on the proposals being "firmly on track".

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