I am today correcting the answer to a question that I provided during the Ways and Means Resolution debate on the HGV Road User Levy Bill, on Tuesday 23 October 2012.
In response to the question asked by Bob Stewart (Beckenham) (Con) on “whether vehicles leaving a port of entry will have a physical sign on their windows indicating that they have paid” [Official Report, 23 October 2012, Col 881], I should have clearly stated that there will be no physical sign of payment, through the display of a paper disc, sticker or similar item.
Payment of the levy will be recorded in a database using the vehicle registration as the unique identifier. We expect that enforcement of non payment will be carried out using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology equipped cameras linked to this payment database, which will allow VOSA to target and stop non-compliant vehicles. We expect that checks on vehicles will be made shortly after the heavy goods vehicles have left the port at which they have arrived, and are on the UK road network. Further checks will be carried out in other locations. Non-compliant vehicles will need to pay a penalty of £200 before they are allowed to proceed. Cases that are taken to court will be liable to a fine of up to £5,000.
The use of a physical indication of payment is impractical, as drivers could have to physically change stickers or discs daily, and it would create an enormous and costly burden, in terms of administration of the charge. It could also create problems if relied on for enforcement, as stickers or discs could be forged.
The Department for Transport’s consultation on this subject was also based on a database linked enforcement method.