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Foreign trucks to pay for using British roads

London, UK:  Foreign lorries are to be charged up to £1,000 a year to use British roads. The fee will also apply to UK-based lorries but this will be offset by an equivalent cut in vehicle excise duty.

The charge is designed to create a “level playing field” for British lorry drivers, as they have to pay for using roads in Europe. But it could herald a move to a universal road charging scheme for all motorists.

The government will publish draft legislation next month and ministers said the charge would be brought in by the end of the current parliament at the latest. The amount of the charge would depend on the size of the vehicle and is expected to raise £20m a year.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “These proposals will deliver a vital shot in the arm to the UK haulage industry.

Geoff Dunning, chief executive, Road Haulage Association welcomes the move as a “good start” but says: “This is not enough to give us a level playing field as regards the rest of Europe.”

“We are pleased that Mr McLoughlin has seen fit to bring forward this legislation so early in his tenure as Transport Minister; he is obviously very aware as to the important role played by UK hauliers in rebuilding the economy, increasing UK competitiveness and boosting growth.”