Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (749)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

749. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to revise the current road tax regime for commercial vehicles in favour of introducing a pay-as-you-go road user charge in view of the fact that such a charge will be introduced in the UK and Northern Ireland as of 1 April 2014; his views on whether this £10 charge by the UK authorities will have an adverse impact on the significant volume of cross-Border freight, which is mobilised on a daily basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5181/14]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The development of a road charging scheme for HGVs is one of my priorities for 2014. I have established a cross-Departmental working group, in conjunction with the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, to examine the feasibility of introducing such a regime for HGVs in Ireland in the medium term.  The group began its work in January and is due to report by the middle of this year.

The introduction of a road charging scheme for HGVs raises a number of issues and would require input from a wide variety of Government departments and agencies.  The working group will need to take account of issues regarding the Exchequer impact of a road charging scheme, how it would work, the impact it would have on imports and exports, the technology involved in such a system, compliance with European legislation and how it would be enforced amongst other matters.

The new UK HGV levy will have an impact, albeit relatively small, on cross border trade costs between our two jurisdictions. However, it should be noted that 97% of goods vehicles taxed in Ireland are below 12 tonnes and will therefore be exempt from the levy. I will meet my UK counterpart later this month and will reiterate my earlier request that certain roads in Northern Ireland be excluded from the levy.