To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department plans to take to use updated technology to reduce the evasion of tolls and penalty charge notices by foreign registered commercial vehicles; and whether he has plans to refuse entry to the UK to those who have evaded such charges.
29 March 2018
In regards to the Dartford Crossing Highways England confirm that the vast majority of foreign drivers pay the charges and are not issued with fines.
Highways England also advise that Penalty Charge Notices issued overseas are issued with a warning letter to those using the Dartford Crossing for the first time. This offers a further opportunity to pay the original charge without accruing a fine. This avoids penalising road users that are unaware of the payment arrangements, and raises awareness so that advanced payments can be made in the future. Highways England uses a private collection agency called EPC plc to chase those foreign drivers who do not pay tolls and penalty charges.
Regarding the HGV Levy, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) note that enforcement of non-GB HGVs is a major priority for them. In 2016-17, it checked just over 88,000 non-GB HGVs at the roadside, which accounts for more than 62% of all HGV vehicles stopped for enforcement checks.
From those checks, DVSA issued just under 17,000 penalty notices. These covered offences including the non-payment of the HGV Levy, mechanical offences and drivers hours. In the last year, a number of vehicles were directed out of the country and many were immobilised until the problems identified had been rectified. There are no plans to change the rules on entry for this issue.