About half of UK hauliers are facing a 20% increase in the HGV Road User Levy from February 2019 after the government revealed changes to the scheme.
In February 2019, UK-registered Euro 5 trucks and earlier will be hit with the rise, but the levy for Euro 6 vehicles will reduce by 10%. The move is part of the government’s wider strategy to improve air quality.
For a typical 40-44-tonne artic, this will add an extra £200 to the current £1,000 annual levy fee, while for Euro 6 trucks the fee will fall to £900.
But the move has been criticised by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and Freight Transport Association (FTA) as being “unfair”.
Richard Burnett, chief executive of the RHA, said: “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.”
Christopher Snelling, Head of UK Policy at FTA, added that, while the reduction in levy for Euro 6 vehicles is good news, the increase for Euro 5 and earlier vehicles will hit small and medium-sized businesses that: “already face increased costs as they need to upgrade to Euro 6 vehicle early to be compliant with the planned Clean Air Zones.
“It hurts them because the re-sale value of their slightly older lorries, the Euro 4 and 5s, has fallen so much – making the jump to afford a new Euro 6 so much greater.
“The government’s approach to cleaner air risks putting some smaller hauliers’ livelihoods at risk for only a temporary gain on air quality. The reform of the levy was an opportunity to help, and for the most part the Government has failed to take it.”