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Tuesday, 27 November, 2001, 20:10 GMT
Hauliers welcome tax move
Leyland DAF truck
It costs 700-800 a year to use European roads
UK hauliers have welcomed proposals to charge foreign lorries for using British roads.

Chancellor Gordon Brown announced the plans in Tuesday's pre-Budget statement.


There will be a more level playing field for UK hauliers who will benefit from the more equal competition

Freight Transport Association

British haulage firms have long complained that while they have to pay taxes or tolls while driving abroad, overseas lorry-drivers use British roads for free.

Mr Brown said the government was issuing a consultation documentation on ensuring that foreign hauliers "pay their share".

Simon Chapman, chief economist of the Freight Transport Association, said a typical UK haulage company paid about 700-800 a year to use European roads.

This money went either on a European "vignette" - a sort of European tax season ticket - or on tolls.

Mr Chapman said: "The government has been talking about this for some time, so today's announcement is a long-overdue step.

"It means that there will be a more level playing field for UK hauliers who will benefit from the more equal competition."

Ways to charge

The government is seeking views on two possible ways of charging - by time spent or by distance travelled.

It is thought one way of charging is to impose taxes of 5 a day or 750 a year on all lorries using Britain's motorways.

But the government would also reduce the vehicle excise duty for UK registered lorries, to ensure they pay no more tax overall.

That system could be introduced within two years of getting Parliamentary approval.

The alternative would be to charge lorries by distance covered, using electronic or satellite tracking technology.

The government says a distance-based charging system would take about four years to bring in.

See also:

07 Mar 01 | Budget 2001
Motorists get duty cuts
22 Sep 00 | UK Politics
Lorry taxes 'pay for roads damage'
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