Draft legislation will be published next month confirming details behind a lorry road user charge that will be introduced no later than 2015.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed to that a charge of up to £1,000 a year will be applied to both domestic and foreign registered vehicles, but the vast majority of UK vehicles will be elligable for a corresponding cut in VED by way of compensation.
The confirmation follows a consultation with the industry earlier this year.
Newly appointed transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said: “These proposals will deliver a vital shot in the arm to the UK haulage industry. It is simply not right that foreign lorries do not pay to use our roads, when our trucks invariably have to fork out when travelling to the Continent.
“By introducing charges we will create a level playing field, increasing UK competitiveness and boosting growth.”
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has described the confirmation as “a happy day for road hauliers”.
RHA chief executive Geoff Dunning said in regards to the £1,000 charge: “This is not enough to give us a level playing field as regards the rest of Europe. But it is a good start and will help no end in beginning to prepare the ground.
“We are pleased that McLoughlin has seen fit to bring forward this legislation so early in his tenure; he is obviously very aware as to the important role played by UK hauliers in rebuilding the economy, increasing UK competitiveness and boosting growth.”
James Hookam, MD of policy and communications at the Freight Transport Association, said: “We have been working with the DfT for nearly two years on this project. We are in support provided the cost to UK registered operators remains neutral. We have helped the department to do this by ensuring that VED payments can be offset against the new vignette charge.”