The government is considering the introduction of a “pay-per-mile” scheme for lorries to cut congestion and cover the cost of damage to roads.
The move would ensure international drivers using Britain’s roads would be contributing towards the upkeep of UK roads, just as UK truck drivers working in Europe currently have to pay tolls and levies when delivering goods abroad.
It is thought the pay per mile scheme might replace the current taxes paid by HGV drivers and operators.
While the Department for Transport (DfT) said there were “no plans” to roll out road pricing, a consultation is being carried out to update the HGV road user levy, which was introduced in 2014 to ensure vehicles make a contribution to the wear and tear of the road network.
Mr Grayling denied any plans for a road toll system for cars; at least for the “foreseeable future”. He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it was about creating a “level playing field” for British and international hauliers.
“Our hauliers often complain that a continental trucker comes in with a tank full of lower duty diesel, spends several days working in the country, goes away again and pays nothing towards the use of the roads,” he said.
“We already have a system in place that provides some limited contribution, but we’re now consulting the industry.”
But a spokesman for the RHA said he was “worried” about the announcement.
“Although it’s good news that more money is being spent on roads, it’s not right to target only lorries with a new tax,” he said.
“This has to be revenue neutral for lorry firms. If we fail to do this, it will make us less competitive than our European counterparts.”