A Good day for UK Truckers – Chulyshman Pole of Cold

Some imbalances in Europe’s trucking industry have been rectified. A closer look at one of the remote Russian Pole of Cold roads ahead of a high profile lecture next month. A plan to reduce speed limits could see a large scale roads protest later this month in France. A horrific accident in Norway. The EU hasn’t completely forgotten about the Gibraltar frontier queues.

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A GOOD DAY FOR UK TRUCKERS

The new HGV Levy and more expensive fuel in Romania help level the playing field for UK hauliers

rom fuel

Photo @DriveEurope

The new HGV Levy starting today means foreign trucks pay up to £1,000 a year to use UK roads.

All hauliers pay the charge but British companies will have their Vehicle Excise Duty reduced to compensate, and can pay both in one transaction. For 90% of UK firms the charge will be neutral.

The HGV Levy varies depending on the size of vehicle and its emissions, from £1.70 to £10 per day.

Reaction from Europe has been muted though there are concerns the system has not been widely publicised. Over 36,000 vehicles have registered so far.

Hauliers in the Republic of Ireland are not happy. Sinn Fein has called for Northern Ireland to be exempted.

The levy has been welcomed across the UK industry. There have long been complaints about an ‘un-level playing field’ with other firms across the Continent where truck tolls are widespread.

Competition is felt particularly keenly from Eastern Europe where wages are lower and fuel is much cheaper.

It’s more good news then that the Romanian government today raised the price of fuel by 7c per litre.

However, as we reported yesterday, transport companies will be rebated 4c per litre after strenuous protests.

Even so, the head of Eurolines Romania, one of the country’s biggest operators, said the price rise would have a ‘devastating effect’ on the industry.

That remains to be seen. Overnight, unleaded95 jumped from €.1297 per litre to €1.389, and diesel from €1.313 to €1.405 according to Fuel Prices Europe.

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Chulyshman: a canyon and a river in the Altai Republic, south central Russia, on the border with Kazakhstan. It runs 241km into Lake Teletskoye. In summer it’s really pretty. In winter it freezes over and becomes an ice road. It was one of the roads used on this year’s Pole of Cold expedition. On 19 May, expedition leader Felicity Ashton will be giving the Monday Night Lecture at the Royal Geographical Society in London, see www.rgs.org

Chulyshman: a canyon and a river in the Altai Republic, south central Russia, on the border with Kazakhstan, running 241km into Lake Teletskoye. In summer it’s really pretty. In winter it freezes over and becomes an ice road, as used on this year’s Pole of Cold expedition. Notice the lack of tarmac on the road down (safety barriers haven’t been invented yet). For those interested to hear more about this incredible 30,000km drive from the UK to eastern Russia and back, in the dead of winter – by Land Rover Defender – expedition leader Felicity Ashton gives the Monday Night Lecture at the Royal Geographical Society in London SW7 on 19 May. Tickets are free on the door on a first come first served basis. Be there at 18:15, see www.rgs.org

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roundup: FRANCE. A plan to reduce the main road speed limit to 80kmh could spark a nationwide go-slo on the weekend of 12 April. Organised by The Union of Road Users (UUR) – comprising the FFMC motorcycling club and ’40 Millions d’Automobilistes’ – over 100 rallying points have been organised so far. At this stage the 80kmh is still just a proposal but it was previously given the nod by former Interior Minister Manual Valls (now Prime Minister). NORWAY. The picturesque, university fjord town Volda in the south west is a little less pleasant this morning after a septic tanker tipped early on the E39 last night. Toilet paper is reportedly fluttering in the breeze. GIBRALTAR QUEUE WATCH. As delays reached two hours this afternoon, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecelia Malmstrom told the European parliament she was aware of continuing long queues and ‘would bring the issue to the attention of the Spanish authorities’. There is due to be a repeat visit by the EU to the frontier in May.

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