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This note provides information on the implementation of the HGV road user levy, to be introduced in the UK from 1 April 2014.

The UK road haulage sector is facing many pressures – from high fuel prices to competition from European hauliers. It is in this context that successive governments have looked at levelling the playing field for UK hauliers whose competitors can refuel across the Channel (where in general the level of fuel duties paid is lower than in the UK) and who do not pay UK road taxes, which go towards the maintenance and improvement of the road network.

One of the solutions most often put forward by the industry is some sort of road user charge or levy whereby foreign hauliers would be required to pay a charge for the use of UK roads. While UK hauliers would be required to pay the same charge, this would be balanced by a reduction in domestic taxes such as Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). Any scheme would have to comply with the complex rules set out at a European level in the Eurovignette Directive, as amended.

The last Conservative Government looked at this and the previous Labour Government even put some framework legislation on the statute book, but neither of them introduced a scheme.

The Coalition Government consulted on the introduction of a scheme in January 2012. The HGV Road User Levy Act 2013 took forward the proposals in that consultation. It provides for the introduction of an HGV road user levy from 1 April 2014.

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