The Department for Transport have revealed plans for new legislation to charge foreign truck £10 a day to use British roads by 2015.
The new Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin unveiled plans to create a level playing field with foreign competition. British HGV drivers pay road charges of up to £13 a day on the continent but European HGV drivers counterparts pay nothing when they drive in the UK.
Before we start celebrating it is worth noting that under European Union legislation, UK hauliers will also have to pay the charge. Therefore a rebate scheme will have to be created to reimburse UK hauliers. The new charge is expected to cost £1,000 a year. Any rebate scheme needs to be administered in a way that does not create more work or have a negative impact on cash flow for operators.
After administration costs the Government is expecting to take around £20m a year in net revenue. This is about 0.2% of all spending on roads in a year so it will have little impact on the state of our roads.
The scheme could also set a precedent for "pay by the mile" road charging for all motorists.
If the UK Government really wanted to help UK hauliers it should do something to reduce fuel duty now. Fuel accounts for around 45% of the total cost of ownership for a HGV and is up to 20% cheaper in many other countries in the EU.
The Government hopes the legislation will be in place before the end of this Parliament.