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Lorries: Foreign Companies

Volume 477: debated on Friday 13 June 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what financial contribution foreign heavy goods vehicles make to maintaining the British road network. (209893)

[holding answer 11 June 2008]: EU law is clear that member state policy measures may not inhibit the freedom of movement of goods and may not discriminate (directly or indirectly) according to nationality of haulier or the origin or destination of a vehicle. This of itself precludes any lump-sum tax levied specifically on entry to the UK.

The Government along with industry representatives looked at foreign activity as part of the industry study undertaken by the 2006 Haulage Industry Task Group. The conclusions showed that cabotage activity (foreign operators picking up and dropping off the same load within the UK) accounted for around 1 per cent. of domestic road freight movements.

Following the conclusion of the recent Freight Data Feasibility Study, the Government decided against taking forward a vignette scheme due to the limited benefits achievable when compared to the costs. It was decided that greater benefits are achievable through other measures, and to this extent the Department for Transport recently announced an additional £24.3 million on enforcement spending, targeting those on international trips—those less likely to comply with UK road safety law.