Road Transport: HGV Levy changes from 2023

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In August 2020, the Government suspended payment of the HGV levy until August 2023. It had been in place since 2014 for heavy goods vehicles over 12 tonnes gross vehicle weight (gvw).

The Government intends to recommence payment of the levy from August 2023. And, when it does so, it intends to either change its format or keep it as before.

If the basis of the levy is changed, it will be based on the vehicle’s environmental performance. The Department for Transport (DfT) suggests that, in this scenario, most operators would pay the same or less, with only a small number facing a higher amount of levy.

At the point, the levy was suspended (August 2020), there were no fewer than 11 payment bands each divided into two depending on the HGV’s emissions class. In 2019, the Government changed the criteria for the original levy to base this on EURO emissions. The Government wants to base the revised levy on CO² emissions and environmental quality performance. There is seemingly no method of establishing CO² emissions on HGVs – hence, the Government would intend to reform the levy to be based on vehicle weight, as there is said to be a broad link between weight and Co² emissions.

Any reformed levy would also simply be based on two criteria: the vehicle weight and pollutants (the EURO emissions class) and there would only be six levy bands (3 divided into 2 each). This would mark a change from the existing levy that has been based on vehicle type, the number of axles, vehicle weight and pollutants (Euro emissions class).

The proposals published by DfT would lead to reformed levy charges as follows:

Weight Category Newest, Cleanest Vehicles (Euro V1 or later) Older Vehicles (Euro V or earlier)
From 12 tonnes and up to 31 tonnes £150 £195
Above 31 tonnes and up to 38 tonnes £360 £468
Above 38 tonnes £576 £749

This would apply to rigid HGVs, articulated HGVs and rigid HGVs pulling trailers. Rigid HGVs pulling trailers of four tonnes or more would pay on the basis of the total combined weight, to determine the calculate the correct band and amount of levy.

The DfT has issued consultation documentation, seeking views for these proposals and the retention of the status quo. If the current levy rates were retained, then hauliers would pay what they paid before, whilst reform would mean them paying the same or less, with a small proportion potentially paying more.

Foreign vehicles: The Government intends to continue the levy, but only to charge foreign HGVs when using main roads i.e. A-roads or motorways. Further, it is intended that foreign HGVs only pay the levy on days (or part of days) when an HGV is driven on a road – not when used or kept on a road.

The consultation is open until 18 July 2022.

The levy will resume in August 2023, whatever its outcome.

Given any increase will affect few hauliers and most will be no worse off or benefit from lower amounts, it appears likely that reform will be implemented. The DfT believes that there will be little adverse impact for those hauliers that might see an increase in levy, as the levy represents only a small proportion of overall HGV operating costs.

Whether that is a view shared by all in the road transport sector, remains to be seen.

Contact our road transport solicitors today

If you require any advice with regard to Goods and Passenger Operator Licencing, including advice concerning DVSA Investigations, correspondence with the Office of The Traffic Commissioner or Traffic Commissioner Preliminary Hearing/Public Inquiry work, then please contact us using our online enquiry form or by calling 0330 404 7949.


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