YORKSHIRE MPs are calling for the millions of pounds which the Government is set to collect from a new annual levy on foreign truck drivers to be spent on repairing crumbling roads across the region.
There is cross-party support for the HGV Bill currently making its way through Parliament that will force European drivers to pay a £1,000-a-year levy for using UK motorways and trunk roads.
But Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy said the £23m the new tax is expected to bring in each year should be invested in key freight routes rather than being swallowed up by the Treasury.
“I represent the port of Goole and most of the arterial routes into the ports of Hull, Immingham and Grimsby and our roads are often well-used by HGVs, which cause considerable damage,” he said.
“We get a lot of complaints from residents about HGVs, so let us hope that once the money has been raised it will be invested back into our road networks.”
He was supported by Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers, who agreed the money should be spent on key trunk roads linking to ports such as Immingham.
To get around European law, the new levy will have to be charged initially on all HGV vehicles – but UK drivers will get a rebate on their road tax to ensure the effect is largely cost-neutral for them.
Mr Percy praised the plan, but said the tortuous way of implementing it was indicative of European bureaucracy.
“It demonstrates the all-encompassing grasp of the European Union that we must follow such a convoluted route,” he said. “That shows how we have lost control of our destiny in this country. We should be able to support our hauliers directly if we want to.”
Transport Minister Stephen Hammond said the Government is already investing in the roads, but promised there will be “robust negotiations” with the Treasury.
Road to ruin: Page 7; Comment: Page 12.