Foreign lorry drivers are to be charged up to £10 a day to use British roads from tomorrow.

About 100,000 foreign HGVs that make 1.5 million trips to the UK every year will pay towards maintaining roads.

The introduction of the charge is intended to "level the playing field" as UK truck drivers pay tolls and levies in Europe, the Government said.

Loading article content

Foreign hauliers operating in the UK have not been required to make a similar payment, until tomorrow when the HGV road user levy is introduced.

The tax, which will be capped at £1000 a year, has been brought in nearly a year early with the aim of ensuring UK truckers are able to better compete with their foreign counterparts.

Speaking at a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency site in Ashford, Kent, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said an estimated £20 million will be raised in the first year of its introduction.

He said: "It will level the playing field between foreign lorries that have been coming to this country and not contributing anything to road maintenance."

UK operators will pay the levy at the same time as HGV Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), but the Government has promised to cut VED to coincide with the new tax.

The levy affects all HGVs of 12 tonnes or more that drive on UK roads, regardless of their country of registration.

Foreign operators will have to pay the tax before using UK roads, with charges from £1.70 and £10 a day, or £85 to £1000 per year.