Trucks 'should pay toll' to enter Britain

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The Independent Online

Foreign lorry owners should be levied a toll as they enter Britain to pay for the damage they cause to roads and the environment, says an all-party group of MPs. The Select Committee on Transport wants the Government to introduce the payment at all ports.

Foreign lorry owners should be levied a toll as they enter Britain to pay for the damage they cause to roads and the environment, says an all-party group of MPs. The Select Committee on Transport wants the Government to introduce the payment at all ports.

Under the proposal, the drivers would have to buy and display a permit. British hauliers would also have to pay the levy, but would have the amount deducted from their Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).

The committee also called for a "bounty" to be paid to British firms for scrapping older, "polluting" vehicles. MPs want owners to face tougher financial tests before being granted operating licences to keep out "cowboys" who undercut rivals and habitually flout laws on safety and the environment. They also want to scrap incentive schemes that reward staff for the number of deliveries they make or the miles they cover because they encourage drivers to travel too far and undermine safety.

Conservatives on the committee opposed the section of the report that refused to recommend a cut in VED and fuel tax. James Gray, member for Wiltshire North, said a litre of diesel costs 47p in Belgium and 84p in Britain. The average VED in Belgium was £835 compared with £2,500 in the UK.

He said the transport industry was facing a "catastrophe" because of the high level of taxation.

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