A new report shows that Britain is lagging behind other European countries in developing a charging system for lorries that would end unfair competition from foreign hauliers.
The report, commissioned by Campaign for Better Transport, sets out how a lorry road user charging system could end the unfair advantage that non-UK hauliers have.
It recommends a distance charge varied by size/weight of lorry, based on GPS or tachograph data. It claims its system would:
• Minimise the external costs from heavy goods vehicle traffic, including local air pollution, noise and congestion
• Generate income for improvements in the UK freight sector
• Improve road safety
• Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Foreign hauliers do not contribute towards their use of UK roads, pay no UK fuel tax when they fill up abroad and are more likely to be involved in collisions.
Most other European countries have, or are in the process of setting up, some form of lorry charging.
The coalition government has agreed to “work towards the introduction of a new system of HGV road user charging to ensure a fairer arrangement for UK hauliers”.
Chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, Stephen Joseph, said: “We have seen from other European countries that a lorry charging system can deliver significant benefits. In particular, it can help to support the economy, reduce congestion and reduce carbon emissions.
“Britain must catch up with our European neighbours and take the sensible step of charging hauliers using UK roads – rather than continue the current situation of European companies not paying a penny.”