Foreign trucks at Dover

Industry associations are urging the government to provide finer details on its proposed lorry road user charge (LRUC) following the end of the scheme’s consultation period.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has questioned how a new grant, set to replace the Reduced Pollution Certificate (RPC) as part of the proposed lorry charging scheme, will affect UK-based operators, particularly those running fleets of 50-plus vehicles. It calculates that its members could lose out on £3.7m in benefits from the loss of the RPC if not able to claim the new grant.

However, transport minister Mike Penning tells MT that the government is working very closely with UK hauliers to make sure the scheme works for them.

He adds: "I am determined to level the playing field with foreign hauliers and end their competitive advantage. We are confident we can supply fleets with a grant that will mean they will continue to receive the same value benefit provided by RPCs."

BVRLA chief executive John Lewis says: "It would be good to hear more detail of how the proposed grant will work. We hope that it will be available to all those affected by higher road-tax bills and that it will not involve a mountain of paperwork."

The association is also urging the government to ensure the fine for non-payment of the LRUC by foreign hauliers is a big enough deterrent, suggesting a figure of £1,000, and that Vosa receives a "robust" enforcement budget to ensure compliance of the scheme.

Meanwhile, the FTA says its biggest concern is the lack of detail and guarantees about how operators will be rebated for the LRUC.

James Hookham, FTA MD of policy and communications, adds that a rebate on VED is the sensible option to refund operators, but that so far, this has not been confirmed by the government. "There is a real risk that members will pay twice. We want the government to categorically confirm that VED is the way operators will get a rebate, or it’s game over," he warns.

Hookham adds that despite a VED rebate being highlighted as the most likely route by the DfT, "for some reason the Treasury is yet to acknowledge that this is the way to go".

A full response to the LRUC consultation is expected later this year.