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Road Haulage Lobby 'Dismayed' at Increase in HGV Road User Levy to Combat Poor Air Quality

Large Rise in Costs for Those Operators with Older Trucks UK – Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport Jesse Norman MP has announced new measures[1] to change the rates[2] paid by road freight outfits toward the Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) levy with effect from February 2019. The move has been met with disappointment from industry leaders with the Road Haulage Association (RHA[3]) stating baldly that the minister’s claim that HGVs account for around a fifth of harmful NOx emissions is a shameful exaggeration. Mr Norman said:

“The newest lorries generate 80% less nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions than older ones.

From February next year lorries that meet the latest Euro VI emissions standards will be eligible for a 10% reduction in the cost of the Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) levy. Euro V and older vehicles, which do not meet these emissions standards, will pay 20% more. “This change to the levy will incentivise the industry to choose less polluting lorries.

The government will make the first changes to the levy to implement the reductions for Euro Class VI vehicles through a Statutory Instrument being laid today, with the remaining changes to increase the rates for Euro V and older vehicles expected to be included in the Finance Bill in the Autumn.” The changes mean that the maximum current rate of GBP1,000 per annum will reduce to GBP900 for Euro VI trucks whilst Euro 0-V vehicles will see an increase to GBP1,200. This means a switch from charging according simply to a vehicle’s size and weight, to a calculation including the specific vehicle emissions of the type involved.

These charges are likely to become ever harsher as vehicles age, in line with the government’s published Air Quality Plan[4]. At current take up levels the changes will mean a 20% hike for 56% of the vehicles over 12 tonnes on Britain’s roads and the RHA says the move fails to take into account the shift to Euro VI already taking place, while completely ignoring non-road transport NOx emissions. RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett said in response to today’s announcement:

“We’re at a complete loss as to understand Government’s latest decision to inflict yet more pain with another tax hike on hauliers. Road transport operators have made huge strides in adopting cleaner air technologies. Despite this, Government has made it very clear it has no interest in either acknowledging that progress, or in supporting the industry on its journey to an emissions-free future.

“Of course, we all want clean air, but we consider it grossly unfair that Government uses clean air policies to justify squeezing money out of already cash-strapped hauliers to plug financial gaps elsewhere. Where is the incentive? What’s needed is a realistic scrappage scheme that supports our industry during this transition, not a penal approach.

“This latest move is aggressive, anti-business and does nothing to reassure the industry responsible for moving 90% of the economy that it’s doing a great job.

With Brexit looming this industry needs some good news, the reality is that this latest announcement amounts to little more than delivering another kick to an industry already on its knees.”

Road Haulage Lobby 'Dismayed' at Increase in HGV Road User Levy to Combat Poor Air QualityRoad Haulage Lobby 'Dismayed' at Increase in HGV Road User Levy to Combat Poor Air Quality


  1. ^ announced new measures (www.gov.uk)
  2. ^ change the rates (www.gov.uk)
  3. ^ RHA (www.rha.uk.net)
  4. ^ Air Quality Plan (assets.publishing.service.gov.uk)

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