Foreign lorry drivers will have to pay to use our roads

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Lorry drivers who are foreign and using British roads will have to pay £10 per day under a new scheme by the Government designed to put a price on national roads.  The new charge is aimed to help level the charges that British lorry drivers pay when they travel abroad.

The consultation is expected to be announced this week and many lorry drivers believe that this will eventually lead to truckers being forced to adopt the use of a box that is placed on top of a lorry and then tracked via a satellite.

UK lorry drivers will also have to pay the £10 charge but they will see their charges reimbursed in some way although it is not clear if this will be done by reducing fuel duty on truckers or by reducing their tax disc.  The EU allows all countries within its control to charge lorry drivers up to 16 euros a day so the Government believes that £10 is realistic.

The charges were created mainly with an aim to control heavy good vehicles but supporters of pricing road use in general such as the Social Market Foundation are liable to use the new charges to help lobby for more ambitious pricing on the roads.  The previous Government discussed charging for road access but then dismissed the idea.

Roads minister Mike Penning stated that every year there are about 1.5m foreign lorries that travel into the UK but none of them pay for the use of the roads, leaving taxpayers and businesses to pick up the bills. He went on to explain that a road usage charge for lorries would make sure that all haulers that regularly use the UK roads are helping to pay the costs of repairs, regardless of where they are from.

There are a number of ways that the new charges could be enforced, including the satellite box option mentioned earlier. Another way to enforce the system would be to make all lorries place a sticker on their windscreen that can be processed by road scanners and linked back to an account so that haulers are charged while on UK roads.

If the sticker were to be used they would receive it on entering British roadways and then have to hand it back in when they exit the border again at which point their charge would be added up and paid.