A new time-based user charge for all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) using the UK road network in April 2014 is a step closer to delivery following the appointment today of Northgate Public Services to develop and operate the foreign operator payment system for the HGV road user levy.
The foreign operator payment system will enable foreign operators or drivers to purchase the levy in advance of entering the UK through a number of sales channels including online, telephone and at point of sale terminals. The system will also create a database to enable authorities to identify hauliers who have not paid.
Transport Minister Stephen Hammond said:
Getting the foreign operator payment system right will be crucial to the success of the levy. The system will be easy for foreign carriers and their drivers to access and straight forward to use. Its design also sends an important message to those foreign operators who think about avoiding paying. If you don’t pay, or underpay, you will be caught and face a £300 fine.
Northgate Public Services has been appointed after a competitive tendering process, and will be responsible for the design, build, finance, operation and maintenance of a foreign operator payment system for the HGV levy. The contract will initially run until 2019.
David Meaden, Chief Executive, Northgate Public Services said:
The foreign operator payment system will provide a simple and effective means of ensuring that foreign hauliers who use the UK road network contribute to the cost of its upkeep. By re-purposing existing technology, the programme can be delivered in a shorter timescale and with lower costs and risk than would otherwise be possible.
By law, the scheme cannot discriminate between UK-registered vehicles and vehicles from elsewhere in the EU so this charge will apply to all HGVs. For UK vehicles the levy will be paid alongside VED – which will be reduced in line with the levy to ensure the majority of UK operators experience no rise in the total amount they pay. It will also be collected through existing agency channels so there will be no additional administration cost.
Notes to editors
Northgate Public Services, has a proven track record in delivering customer-facing IT solutions to central government departments, including the Home Office, the Department of Health and the Department for Transport, and to local public services, most recently in the delivery of the new Blue Badge scheme.
The levy will apply to all HGVs at or above 12 tonnes using the UK road network. It will ensure that for the first time, foreign HGVs using the UK road network contribute to the costs they impose.
The levy has been set in line with EU legislation with the rate paid reflecting vehicle weight and axle configuration. There are seven levy bands which align with existing Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) bands. For a 40 tonne 5 axle artic, the most common type of foreign vehicle coming to the UK, operators will pay £10 per day or £1,000 per year.
The majority of UK HGVs will see no increase in costs as reductions in Vehicle Excise Duty will fully offset the cost of the levy. Government is working hard to ensure that where cost increases are faced, these are kept to a minimum.
The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) will have primary responsibility for enforcing the levy in Great Britain and the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland.