Ecotax faces delay until next summer
Ministers deny HGV plan will be dropped as protesters destroy 44 speed cameras and go-slow protests hit major roads
DESPITE continuing protests against the planned HGV ecotax, ministers have defended the plan saying it would not be dropped – although Le Monde says this morning its application will be postponed until next summer.
They were speaking after Interior Minister Manuel Valls ordered police to keep a special watch on speed cameras in Brittany as more than 40 have been destroyed by ecotax protesters in the past 10 days.
Yesterday Brittany prefect Patrick Strozda said six radars had been set on fire the previous night in Ille-et-Vilaine and Côtes-d'Armor – and three people were arrested as they tried to destroy a camera at Saint-Jean-de-Vilaine (Ille-et-Vilaine).
So far, 44 radars and five of the gantry-type tax “gateways” have been destroyed in Brittany and several of the electronic metering posts have also been destroyed in Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Gard, Charente, Isère, Deux-Sèvres and in Paris.
HGV drivers also ran “opérations escargots” go-slows on the A1 and A25 motorways near Lille, on the A46 near Lyon and on the RN7 near Montélimar.
They held a demonstration on the A55 near Marseille and, at Jugon-les-Lacs (Côtes-d'Armor) a speed camera was destroyed and around 700 protesters threw missiles at police who were protecting one of the tax gateways.
However, Transport Minister Frédéric Cuvillier said on RTL news that the ecotax “would not be buried” as it was a real means to pay for much-needed roads infrastructure.
Development Minister Pascal Canfin went so far as to say it was “not an extra tax, but one fewer” as it would create thousands of jobs in the building industry as the infrastructure work went ahead to cope.
The government got some support in a BVA poll for iTélé/Le Parisien which showed six people in 10 wanted the Breton Bonnets Rouges to stop their protests.
Former presidential candidate Ségolène Royal said on TV Bretons had a right to make their voices heard. She, too, had doubts over the ecotax which, she said, “was a German system which aims to tax giant lorries coming from eastern Europe – but Brittany, which is at the end of Europe, is not crossed by HGVs”.