The UK and Germany have two months to justify their ‘discriminatory’ road tolls or face further action from the European Commission.
Also, police-escorted private drive through Florence for Bentley’s latest (bargain) Grand Drive. Two more foreigners killed on France’s ‘Route de la Mort’. Call to build agreed secure truck parking on Europe’s core network as some Kent space goes empty.
EU ACTS AGAINST GERMAN AND BRITISH FOREIGNER TOLLS
EU says British and German tolls discriminate against foreign drivers.
The European Commission today starts infringement proceedings against the UK and Germany over unfair road tolls.
The German case regards the ‘foreigner toll’, a yet-to-be enacted road charge which will effectively only be paid by visitors. German drivers will have the exact amount deducted from road taxes.
The UK case concerns a similar charge levied only against foreign trucks. Since April 2014, the HGV Levy charges all trucks weighing more than 12 tonnes up to £10 per day to use UK roads. But domestic hauliers have the toll directly rebated via VED Vehicle Excise Duty.
Both countries have two months to justify the tolls or face further action.
In its April infringements package published today, the European Commission says, ‘Despite numerous exchanges with the German authorities since November 2014, and many suggestions by the Commission on how to render the German scheme compatible with EU law, the Commission’s fundamental concerns have not been addressed. In its Reasoned Opinion of today, the European Commission calls on Germany to bring its legislation into line with EU law within two months. Otherwise, the Commission may decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.’
On the UK case the Commission says, ‘After thorough analysis, the Commission has today set out its concern that the HGV levy discriminates against non-UK hauliers. In its letter of formal notice – the first stage in infringement proceedings – the Commission has requested further explanations from the UK authorities. The United Kingdom has two months to respond to the concerns put forward by the Commission. Should the Commission consider the reply unsatisfactory in addressing these concerns it will consider moving to the next stage of infringement proceedings and sending a Reasoned Opinion to the UK.’
It was reported last week the Commission was considering bringing a case against the UK but including the German toll is a surprise. To be updated.
roundup: FRANCE. A month after twelve Portuguese passengers died in a minibus crash on the notorious N79, two young German men were killed in another accident just 700 meters away early on Tuesday morning. The men aged 23 and 28 collided head on with a truck while allegedly on the wrong side of the road near Montbeugny according to reports. Two other truck drivers narrowly avoided the accident. Also known as RCEA Route Centre-Europe Atlantique, between Bordeaux and Geneva, the toll free N79 has gained an unenviable reputation as the country’s ‘Route de la Mort’ (Road of Death) after a succession of fatal accidents in the past five years. Soon after the minibus crash, Transport Minister Alain Vidalies announced accelerated redevelopment plans. The first public enquiry meeting had been held the day before. TRUCK PARKING. The IRU press release – ‘IRU calls for more secure parking areas as one way to address migration crisis’ – sparked derision at Brussels website POLITICO this morning. What it actually meant was, in the words of Michael Nielsen, ‘The more unsecured parking areas, the higher the potential boarding places for stowaways.’ He calls on Member States to make good on their legal commitment to build secure truck parking areas every 100km on the core TEN-T Trans-European Transport network, and on the EU to simplify the process for gaining grants. Reputedly one of the worst offenders is the UK. Earlier this week, Kent Police said they had ‘fined, moved on or immobilised’ 545 illegally parked HGVs between 6 February and 26 April – 494 of them from hard shoulders or motorway slip roads. The problem is often blamed on the lack of parking spaces – hence, partly, the proposed £250 million truck park on the M20 – but officers visited local truck parks and found some only half full. Also this week, TomTom teamed up with Truck Parking Europe to incorporate the latter’s parking finder app with its specialist truck navigation services. It means, for the first time, drivers can match up satnav, parking locations and TomTom’s RDT Remaining Driving Time app.