Motorists and delivery companies could be forced to pay for each kilometre they drive on UK roads under new plans which have been drawn up by the European Transport Commissioner
, Violeta Bulc.
Miss Bulc wants to standardise driving tax across the whole of the EU
using a road toll scheme. The scheme would charge for every kilometre which is driven and would require satellite tracking devices being installed in all vehicles to track the distances travelled.
All the funds collected from the proposed scheme would go directly to Brussels before being shared out among EU member states to go towards maintaining their transport networks.
Miss Bulc also suggests that this scheme could become mandatory across Europe.
The proposed scheme has caused an outraged response from London, where ministers are insisting there are no plans to introduce a national road toll system in the UK. The last time a nationwide road toll scheme like this was proposed was by Labour back in 2007. Back then the plans were abandoned as a result of public opposition to the scheme, over 1.8 million people signed a petition against it.
Key motoring industry figures and anti-EU campaigners are also outraged at the idea proposed by the EU.
Robert Oxley, campaign director for Business for Britain
said ‘Motorists and firms already pay enough to use the roads, without EU tolls adding to that burden. It's ludicrous that the EU would even consider hitting hard-pressed drivers with further charges. It appears some in the commission just don't understand that decisions like these should be taken in the UK, not Brussels.’
Paul Watters, head of roads policy at the AA
has said ‘This is a guarantee vote loser. It would cost a fortune to implement so the costs would outweigh the benefits. Motorists do not trust governments to spend road taxes on improving the roads. A decree from Brussels is not wanted.
Luke Stanley, campaigner from Get Britain Out
has said ‘The public already pays for the upkeep of British roads through taxes, not to mention roads across Europe funded by our extortionate EU membership fee. Brussels bureaucrats like Ms Bulc do not understand the EU’s 28 member states are too divergent for the ‘one size fits all’ approach.
Violeta Bulc wants a standardise road taxing scheme across the EU
Miss Bulc has insisted that the time has now come to consider introducing a common road pricing cheme across the whole of the EU. She said that there are various systems across Europe at the moment and insists this is a burden on drivers and affects their mobility.
She told German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that it makes sense to work on a Europe wide system for HGV’s and cars that could regulate road charges in a efficient manner for all EU countries.
‘The amount of the fee should, in my opinion, be exclusively based on the number of kilometres actually driven and should not be time-dependent,’ she said.
‘It doesn't matter where you come from - everyone will only pay for the distance they have actually driven and it will be billed on a device throughout Europe. We're currently investigating just such an idea.’
Miss Bulc said no decision has been made on whether EU members like Britain would be allowed to opt-out from the new scheme.
She continued ‘There are many different options, a fee could be mandatory but it's also possible to make it optional i.e. that countries decide themselves whether and on which roads they want to levy a road use charge based on the distant driven.’
Miss Bulc also said ‘Road users would only pay for the actual mileage and expenses caused, such as the environment. That would be fair. No one should be discriminated against, we will consult with member states and listen. We should see more clearly in 18 months.’
This news will no doubt stoke the fires of anti-EU campaigners as another reason to leave the EU.
The exact details of the scheme and how it would affect haulage and delivery companies is currently unclear. What is clear however is that the British public will not take kindly to the proposed plans from the EU.