Heavy goods vehicles: do they pay for the damage they cause? Report prepared for Freight on Rail

There is considerable interest at the European and UK level in charging road freight vehicles in full for their external costs - those that they impose on others that are not included (internalised) in their normal operating costs. Congestion, environmental damage, road wear and accidents are examples of these external costs which are not internalised. In the context of changing size and weight limits, for example longer, heavier HGVs (LHVs or “Megatrucks”) proper charging is also seen as critical to extracting the benefits from any increase in capacity. Without this, they are likely to be counter-productive because they would not be well utilised - i.e. suffer from the load factors already common in the UK. Around 29% of HGV travel is empty running and 47% of those carrying goods are less than full (either by weight or volume). Elements of such charges would include environmental damage, the cost of building and maintaining roads, and the delay costs imposed on other users. This report focuses on the question of how taxes and charges can be said to “pay” for HGVs’ external costs, and what those costs may be, using existing values from European and UK research. It does not revisit the values that are commonly used for environmental damage such as air pollution, although some are clearly inadequate. This extends to the price of carbon, currently insufficient to ensure that reduction targets are met. Thus areas of further research are also identified.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 20p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01534272
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Aug 11 2014 2:17PM