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Lorry road user charge should be scrapped, says RAC Foundation

Plans for a lorry road user charge (LRUC) should be abandoned and a system of road pricing for all vehicles introduced as tax revenue declines, according to the RAC Foundation.

The call comes just weeks after a consultation into an HGV charge to level the playing field for UK and foreign operators ended with the industry urging the government to provide finer details.

A report commissioned by the RAC Foundation outlines how a “relentless decline in fuel duty and VED revenue”, due to increasingly fuel efficient cars and a predicted uptake of electric vehicles, will leave a black hole in public finances.

RAC Foundation director professor Stephen Glaister says “all road users, including freight” should therefore be included in road user charging, which would also mean scrapping the LRUC: “It doesn’t fit in; it’s an obstacle,” he says. “The revenue [will be] so small and the bureaucracy awful.”

In its submission to the LRUC consultation the RAC Foundation also says the government is considering the use of toll roads and this undermines the argument for introducing HGV charging.

But the Road Haulage Association’s policy director, Jack Semple, says road charging and LRUC are “completely different subject issues”.

“While we increasingly discuss whether tolls should wholly or in part replace fuel duty as a tax we should get on with the more simple and low cost measure to try and level the playing field of UK and foreign trucks. I don’t see HGV charging in any way a barrier to what the government may or may not do in terms of charging for all vehicles. We give our very strong backing of it,” he adds.

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