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France Simplifies Road Eco-Tax

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

22 November 2012

During a recent congress of the French road transport federation FNTR, French Transport Minister Frédéric Cuvillier unveiled details of plans to simplify the country’s planned heavy goods vehicle eco-tax, confirming that a corresponding bill is to be submitted by the end of the year.

Given that the measure is due to apply in France from July 2013, and that tariff negotiations for next year have already begun, time is of the essence.

Transport Minister Cuvillier announced plans to introduce a compulsory flat-rate charge next year, the rate of which is to be determined by decree each year on a regional basis. In addition, “for interregional transport, an interregional rate” is to apply, the minister said.

The measure, which includes management costs, will replace the former French government’s highly controversial and contested plans to introduce a mechanism that would involve hauliers passing on the cost of the eco-tax to their corporate clients.

Cuvillier outlined details of the agreed transport policy to the council of ministers at the beginning of October, including plans to facilitate the required ‘ecological shift’ by means of an eco-tax imposed on heavy goods vehicles next year.

The transport ministry confirmed at the time that the heavy goods vehicle eco-tax will apply as planned from July 2013. The tax will be “simple, efficient and comprehensive,” the ministry emphasized.

The proposed eco-tax will raise an estimated EUR400m (USD520m) in revenues by the end of 2013, just six months after the measure enters into force. The government anticipates annual revenues from the eco tax of around EUR1bn a year.

Following the council of ministers meeting, government spokesman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem provided further details of the transport minister’s roadmap, confirming that the eco tax will be automatically imposed on goods transporters when lorries exceed 3.5 tonnes and use the country’s non-privatized road network.

The minister confirmed that the levy is designed to encourage a change in the mode of transport used to carry goods, to favour more environmentally friendly forms of transport, notably rail and water.

TAGS: environment | tax | environmental tax | France

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