The Department of Transport (DfT) is making progress towards a levy for foreign hauliers in the UK with the appointment of Northgate Public Services to operate a payment system.
Northgate has been chosen to create, build, finance, run and maintain a foreign operator payment system for the levy which is set to go live in April 2014.
It will be responsible for providing foreign haulier operators with the facilities to purchase a time-based user levy charge in advance of entering the UK through a number of sales channels including online, telephone and sales terminals.
David Meaden, Chief Executive of Northgate Public Services, said, “The foreign operator system will provide a simple and effective means of ensuring that foreign hauliers who use the UK road network contribute to the cost of its upkeep. By re-purposing existing technology, the programme can be delivered in a shorter timescale and with lower costs and risks.”
The levy, for vehicles over 12 tonnes, will be used to pay for the upkeep of the road network. Foreign operators will be able to pick the duration they require, including for one day and a year, depending on their needs.
There will be no proof on the vehicles to say they have paid the levy, but the number plates will be recorded on a publically-accessible central database to confirm the charge has been paid. Those caught avoiding paying the charge will be hit with a £300 spot fine.
UK operators will already have paid the levy alongside their VED, but the DfT maintains the price of both will remain the same as current costs.
Meaden added, “By law, the scheme cannot discriminate between UK-registered vehicles and vehicles from elsewhere in the EU so this charge will apply to all HGVs.”
Transport Minister Stephen Hammond, said, “Getting the foreign operator payment system right will be to the success of the levy. The system will be easy for foreign carriers and their drivers to access and straight forward to use. Its design also sends an important message to those foreign operators who think about avoiding paying. If you don’t pay, or underpay, you will be caught and face a £300 fine.”