Introduction of French Ecotax postponed

The introduction of the French Ecotax has been postponed until 1 January 2014, after a trial this summer revealed problems with the technology used to calculate the fee owed.
What is it?
The Ecotax project is one of the key measures instigated by the Grenelle de l’Environnement law. The Grenelle de l’Environnement, or environment round table, was launched in 2007 to make a step change towards sustainable infrastructure development. The key objective of the Ecotax is to encourage lower and better road use by HGVs, while raising revenue for new and improved transport infrastructures.
Who does it affect?
The levy, which will apply to all HGVs over 3.5-tonnes using 15,000km of France’s road network, was due to come into force on 1 October. However, the French government last week said that the on-board computer system used to calculate the fee due was not functioning correctly.
What does it cost?
The cost will be differentiated, depending on:
the specification of the trucks
the distance driven on national and regional roads, subject to Ecotax.
Three new vehicle classes will be defined, depending on the number of axles:
Category 1 – 2 axles up to 12 tonnes
Category 2 – 2 axles above 12 tonnes, and HGV with 3 axles
Category 3 – over 3 axles
The estimated cost of the tax should average 12 Euro cents per kilometre. No VAT is applicable to Ecotax.
How will the tax be collected?
The total tax due will be calculated through a mandatory device (electronic on-board unit), which operators must fit to each vehicle driving on the national and regional roads subject to Ecotax. Anyone who does not pay the tax will be liable to a 750 Euro fine and immobilisation of the vehicle.
For advice on transport law, contact Jared Dunbar at Dyne Solicitors on 01829 773 105.
Content is believed to be correct at time of writing. Content written on 09 September 2013.

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