Lorry levy is welcome

Your readers may be aware that the Government will now force foreign lorry drivers to pay £1,000 a year to use British roads; an issue I have campaigned on for several years.

Under the proposals, foreign lorries coming to the UK will face a levy in order to create a ‘level playing field’ for British lorries which have to pay tolls to use most of the roads in Europe. British firms will also pay the new levy but they will receive an equivalent cut in vehicle excise duty.

Why should UK lorry drivers be forced to pay to use roads on the continent, whilst at the same time foreign lorries do not pay a penny to use our roads? Lorries run by continental owners are able to fill up with fuel in Luxembourg – where diesel is significantly cheaper – before delivering or collecting cargo in the UK.

I am pleased that the new Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin has introduced this legislation so early in his tenure as Transport Minister; he is obviously very aware as to the important role played by UK hauliers in rebuilding the UK economy, increasing UK competitiveness and boosting growth. The next step is to look at the road worthiness of lorries coming from the continent to the UK, and making sure these vehicles are safe to be on our roads. I am being made increasingly aware of reports of incidents involving foreign lorries on roads in the South-East with less than satisfactory safety standards on vehicles, this must also be looked into.

If you have any views on the issue of foreign lorries I would be interested to read them - please email me at richardjames.ashworth@europarl.europa.eu

RICHARD ASHWORTH

Conservative MEP for the South East and leader of the Conservative delegation in the European Parliament

European Parliament, Rue Wiertz, Brussels

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