France scraps proposed HGV transit tax

Plans to replace France’s failed Ecotaxe road user charging system with a new Heavy Vehicle Transit Tax early next year have been scrapped indefinitely.

The move to ditch the tax - which was to have applied charges averaging 13 Eurocents per kilometre to HGVs over 3.5 tonnes GVW on around 4,000km of French roads from January - was confirmed by French ecology minister Ségolène Royal in October.

The move has been welcomed by French logistics associations, but slammed by environmentalists.

UK trade associations have given the news a cautious welcome, pointing out that while the move is obviously good for UK-based international hauliers in the short term, the French government will be looking for ways to replace the revenues lost from scrapping the scheme.

“They need the money, so they’ll obviously try to work something out,” warned Road Haulage Association head of international affairs, Peter Cullum. “Watch this space.”

Freight Transport Association international manager Don Armour added that the about-turn, while welcome, would leave some firms who had already invested in the on-board units required to administer it out of pocket.

“That’s an investment that is going to be down the drain and that they’re not going to get back now,” he commented.