The UK has a network of 3,600 kilometres of motorways. Until recently, they were toll-free. On 1 April 2014, the UK imposed a road toll, named HGV Levy, short for “Heavy goods vehicle road user levy”.
The levy is based on vignettes, which are valid for a certain period of time (such as a day, week, month, or six months). Vignettes can be bought for a rolling time period. The system will create the cheapest combination of vignettes. It is collected from all vehicles with a weight of 12 tonnes and over. However, drivers from the UK may deduct the levy from the paid vehicle excise duty (road tax), which means in practice that the levy is charged only on foreign vehicles. British government explains the need for introducing the levy by the deteriorating condition of the country’s roads which is said to be principally caused by over 130,000 vehicles entering the UK from abroad.
Rates depend on a vehicle category. Four types of vehicles are distinguished:
The levy rate also depends on the number of axles of a given vehicle and its total weight.
Detailed information on the classification of vehicles can be found here.
Payment of the levy is validated by cameras installed on motorways, ferries and border crossings. They automatically identify vehicles liable for irregularities in the payment of the levy. A failure to pay the levy results in the imposition of a fine of GBP 300. If the fine is not paid immediately, the liable vehicle may be impounded and transported to a special paid parking lot.
The levy must be paid before a vehicle enters the UK. There is an option of registering or signing a contract with the system operator, but these are not mandatory. Customers can use the `Pay and Go` option to pay the levy without registering.
Rates of HGV Levy are within the range of GBP 1.70-10.00 per day, depending on a vehicle class. The highest possible annual levy is GBP 1,000.
There are three options to pay the levy:
Regardless of the selected payment method, all information on the vehicle and vignette expiration date will be each time recorded in the system database. Consequently, there is no obligation to actually possess a paper or sticker vignette. Vignette’s validity can be checked online, upon entering details of the vehicle concerned.