Road charging systems for HGVs have been introduced in a number of EU Member States under Directive 1999/62/EC, as modified by Directives 2002/38/EC and 2011/76/EU. These Directives set out the legal basis for charging HGVs for the use of road infrastructure and authorise Member States, if they so wish, to levy user charges, which can be time-based, for example per day, week or year, or distance-based, calculated on the number of kilometres driven. Any such charges must apply to all HGVs, both domestic and foreign, using the Member State’s road infrastructure.
The Irish Government raised serious concerns about the introduction in April 2014 of the HGV road user levy in the UK, including Northern Ireland, and lobbied the UK authorities to exempt Northern Ireland from the charge because of the potential impact on cross-Border trade. However, the UK Minister for Transport rejected this proposal and opted to give only very minor exemptions from the levy to Northern Ireland. While it is appreciated that the road user levy has imposed significant additional costs on Irish hauliers operating across the region, its application is a matter for the UK authorities.
There are no plans at present to introduce a road charging regime in Ireland, over and above the various toll roads in operation. Any such plans would have to be considered having regard to the impacts on business and the economy, on the environment including climate change, and for the most efficient use of infrastructure as well as the social impacts.