French minister considers charging foreign HGVs instead of postponed Ecotax
French minister for ecology, sustainability and energy Ségolène Royal has raised the idea of establishing a new tax targeting foreign HGVs in place of France’s shelved Ecotax tolling scheme.
Speaking to media outlet BFM-TV on 15 April, Royal said it would be "perfectly legitimate" to oblige foreign lorries crossing France to contribute to the maintenance of the roads they were using in some way.
It’s not yet clear how any new scheme would work, given the Eurovignette Directive’s limitation on charging trucks twice to use the same stretch of road and France’s already extensively tolled motorway network. One idea that has been discussed, however, is to oblige foreign trucks to use that motorway network and then apply some kind of tax to the motorway toll operators.
In October last year, France indefinitely suspended plans to introduce the Ecotax across 10,500km of main roads and 5,000km of secondary routes from 1 January this year after violent protests in Brittany and elsewhere.