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Government HGV charging system too little too late

1 April 2014
Campaign for Better Transport cautiously welcomed the new lorry charging system introduced today (1 April), but said it was too little too late.

Philippa Edmunds, from Campaign for Better Transport, said: “This charging system is a first step, but by introducing a time-based, rather than a distance-based system, the Government has missed an opportunity to create a level playing field for UK hauliers and make road freight more efficient and sustainable.

"A proper distance-based system would have provided an incentive to logistics operators to get better efficiency out of their HGVs, resulting in safer, cleaner and less congested roads and provided an opportunity to charge foreign lorries properly. It is disappointing that the UK Government, by introducing an inferior charging system, will not make HGVs pay for the safety, pollution and congestion impacts they impose on society.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. HGV Road User Levy Act 2013 will begin on 1 April 2014.

2. A growing number of countries have replaced their time-based systems with distance-based ones on motorways, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Rep, Slovakia, Portugal. This has resulted in increased efficiency through larger load factors, less empty trips and lower average distance travelled per tonne.

3. Four years after the German Maut system was introduced in 2005, empty lorries reduced by 11% (previously empty running had been at similar levels to that currently in the UK at 28%), source: T Systems Toll collect Fact Sheet German National Usage basis Lorry Road Charging.

4. Campaign for Better Transport has published research on the benefits of a distance-based charging system: Lorry Road User Charging – A Way Forward for the UK.

5. Transport & Environment published research on the European system: Understanding the Effects of Introducing Lorry Charging in Europe.

6. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).