It has been announced that the French Ministry Of Transport will suspend the proposed HGV road tax indefinitely. This announcement comes after the ‘Federation Nationale des Transports Routiers’ (FNTR) threaten to bring France’s roads to a stand still, as they did one year ago in protest of the ‘Ecotaxe’ which was then scrapped.
The HGV transit road tax (Peage de transit poids-lourds) was planned to be introduced in early 2015 and applied to HGV’s, French and foreign, weighing more than 3.5 tonnes which used a designated network within France of 4000 kilometres. Any HGV exceeding 3.5 tonnes would have to be equipped with a GPS device to monitor their road usage. The tax would then be applied according to weight and CO2 emissions.
Transport unions in France estimate that, aside from the cost of the GPS system, it could cost haulage companies unto 10% more per year.
The Government’s reasoning behind the HGV tax was to help reduce the impact of HGV’s to the environment and also help finance road maintenance across France.
Segolene Royal, the French Ecology minister said that around 39% of those taxed would be foreign road users and told France Info: “It is justifiable that commercial lorries pay to use the roads that they damage, which must be repaired. The cost should not have to be carried by national taxpayers.”
Difficulties in implementing the tax in the testing phase and the threat of industrial action ultimately led to the tax being scrapped. The French Government and haulage industry bodies have agreed to establish a working group to come up with a more suitable solution. The Government also pledged to look into ways how they can make the country’s road haulage industry more competitive.