It seems the French government is planning a flat rate charge on trucks in France, to replace the failed Ecotaxe.
Also, police forces across Europe concentrate on speeding this week. Flanders to remove its shockingly expensive emergency road side phones, as Belgium determines not to become ‘the next Calais’. A Helsinki flash mob protests the use of private vehicles in a city aiming to innovate ‘Mobility as a Service’. Good news on the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry.
€500 HGV TAX FOR FRANCE
Last week’s confusion over ‘Regional Ecotaxe’ quickly cleared up.
The reason for last week’s U-turn on a regional Ecotaxe truck toll system has emerged already: the government wants a national flat charge for HGVs instead.
On Wednesday, the deputy mayor of Boulogne was quickly shouted down by the prime minister’s office after proposing a transit tax for trucks in the Nord Pas de Calais region.
Eyebrows were raised because the regional or transit tax idea – reusing road gantries left over from the now-defunct Ecotaxe – had been floated in June by none other than Ecology minister Segolene Royal.
However, according to a report in today’s Le Figaro, the government is preparing to announce a new ‘paperless vignette’ system for trucks, probably 7.5t+, which would apply to the whole road network, regional and national, and cost €500 per year.
The announcement is on hold currently pending an imminent government reshuffle.
While unlikely to be welcomed by the entire industry, the vignette idea does have the support of the influential Organisation des Transporteurs Routiers Européens (ORTE).
The ORTE sat on the Committee tasked with developing alternatives to the unpopular Ecotaxe which was cancelled last year amid widespread protests.
The Committee was tasked with finding new ways to replace the lost Ecotaxe revenue which had been earmarked for transport investments.
ORTE responded to Royal’s June announcement on transit taxes by reaffirming its support for the vignette, praising its ‘simplicity and equity, and ensuring the sustainable and recurring income for infrastructure financing.’
According to Le Figaro, the vignette would raise €95m each year from foreign hauliers, about 40% of the total revenue it would be expected to raise says ORTE.
roundup: BELGIUM. Each call from an emergency roadside phone costs Flanders €250 reports Deredactie. The north Belgian region maintains 1350 of the phones at an annual cost of €800,000, but they are only used around 3000 times per year. The upshot is that they will all shortly be removed. Meanwhile, a national ‘Task Force’ has been assembled to stop the Belgian coast becoming ‘a second Calais’. The aim is to co-ordinate all national and regional administrative, crime fighting and judicial agencies to target people traffickers. Nearly 350 have been apprehended so far this year. FINLAND. A flash mob occupied a junction in central Helsinki on Saturday in a protest against the use of private vehicles. Around 150 demonstrators sat down on Lonnrotinkatu, halting all traffic reports Finland Times. The Finnish capital is becoming a focus of so-called ‘Mobility as a Service’ systems whereby users do not own any form of transportation but rent on demand via a one-stop-shop internet portal. The scheme is based on a thesis by student Sonja Heikkila, now in development by the city’s public transport authority. At a presentation to the EU Transport & Tourism Committee in Brussels earlier this year, a projected price of €300 per person per month raised eyebrows among MEPs but merely elicited a shrug from Ms Heikkila. CROSSING THE CHANNEL. The Newhaven-Dieppe ferry is to get a new lease on life as a regional authority in France decides to take over the operation reports The Argus. Syndicat Mixte de Promotion de l’Activite Transmanche (SMPAT) will run the ferries from the beginning of next year though there will be a transition period from current operator DFDS lasting until March. The two existing ferries will stay on the route albeit rebranded. The Newhaven-Dieppe route is one of the oldest with regular services starting in 1863. The two ports respectively boast being the nearest to London and Paris. The crossing takes 4h00 with prices for two+car starting at £78.