France: No Ecotaxe Comeback in the Regions

Despite recent encouragement from the Ecology minister, the Ecotaxe truck toll will not make a comeback in the regions says the French government.

Also, warning over too high tolls charges in France due to vehicles being put in the wrong category. Another major fire shuts Norway’s Gudvanga Tunnel. Autobahn speed limits in Bavaria to be reduced in response to migrant crisis. The next Operation Stack will see Dover-bound trucks stacked at Manston Airport while Eurotunnel freight will stay on the M20.

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NO ECOTAXE COMEBACK IN THE REGIONS

Government quickly nixes talk of truck toll in Nord Pas de Calais.

Ecotaxe is back, this time on a regional level. More later.

The Ecotaxe truck toll will not make a comeback in the regions the French government has said.

Frederic Cuvillier – former minister of transport, now mayor of Boulogne-sur-Mer – set off a flurry of speculation on Monday after proposing a revival of the truck toll in Nord Pas de Calais in northern France.

He told business daily Les Echos the region sees up to fifteen percent of all freight traffic in France thanks to the Channel ports and that, ‘International road transit must fund our ports, our roads and our regional rail.’

The system would be a natural extension of the Belgian truck toll system due to start on 1 April 2016 he added.

However, a spokesman for the Prime Minister’s office told Reuters last night, ‘The government has no plans at all to open this possibility.’

Cuvillier’s comments come after Ecology minister Segolene Royal said in June that regions running their own truck tolls would be a ‘good idea’, especially in places like Alsace which sees a lot of freight traffic diverting from German toll roads.

The national truck toll system was cancelled last year after widespread opposition, principally by ‘bonnet rouge’ (red cap) protestors in Brittany.

It was thought regional tolls could reuse the Ecotaxe gantries erected at vast cost for the now defunct scheme.

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Dutch van driver Andries Bik warns about what he calls ‘the French toll road scam’ where tolls are too high because vehicles are put in the wrong category. It’s unlikely to be a problem for regular car drivers, but those with roof racks, roof boxes or carrying bikes on the back – or van or motorhomes – should be alert to being ‘miscategorised’. Sanef Tolling said last year drivers should double check their auto toll tag invoices to make sure they were charged correctly. See what the toll charges should be at autoroutes.fr. If in doubt at the peage, press the red service button and – as Bik advises – say, ‘Le prix n’est pas bien!’ (the toll is not correct).

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roundup: NORWAY. For the second time in two years a major fire has shut the Gudvanga Tunnel, on the E16 between Oslo and Bergen. On this occasion a coach from Sweden caught fire around 400m from the eastern entrance. Another driver on the scene managed to rescue the passengers but four people are said to be seriously injured. A report into the August 2013 fire – which shut the tunnel for six weeks – was critical of safety arrangements. Vegvesen.no has published a map of alternative routes (also see here). At 11km, Gudvanga is Norway’s second longest tunnel. GERMANY. Police in Bavaria plan to temporarily reduce speed limits on the autobahns due to the number of migrants walking alongside reports Autocar’s German correspondent Greg Kable. Traffikers often dump migrants beside the road as soon as they cross the border. Last night for instance, 38 migrants were picked up in total, 22 Syrians from the A94 and 16 from Syria and Iraq off the A8. The German police union chief meanwhile is calling for border controls to be reinstated according to the Daily Mail. OPERATION STACK. The new arrangements for Operation Stack have been published (see here via Virginia Logistics). It seems freight bound for Dover will be stacked at Manson – and diverted onto M2/A2 from the Dartford crossing (or from J7 of M20) – while M20 will continue to be used for Eurotunnel. Even Dover-bound livestock and perishable/hazardous loads should divert to Manston to be fast-tracked.

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