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Truck tolls plan replaces ‘ecotax’

Prime Minister Manuel Valls confirms tolls plan will replace scrapped ‘ecotax’ scheme

THE CONTROVERSIAL ‘ecotax’ on heavy goods vehicles that sparked protests across France last year has been consigned to the scrapheap.

Instead, the government will roll out a new system of road tolls on trucks using roads with particularly heavy freight traffic, Prime Minister Manuel Valls confirmed yesterday, after plans were leaked to the press.

The charge will be imposed on vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes using 4,000km of roads that carry more than 2,500 heavy goods vehicles a day.

Agricultural vehicles and milk lorries will be exempted from the toll, which is set to come into force next year.

Only one of the roads subject to the proposed toll is in Brittany, where the majority of the protests against the so-called ‘ecotax’ took place last year.

The measures, will generate about €550million a year, about half of the projected revenue from the ecotax on heavy freight vehicles, which was to have taken effect on January 1 but was delayed indefinitely following protests.

In one demonstration, police were attacked as 30,000 people took to the streets of Quimper, in Brittany to protest against the now-defunct tax.

Former Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault was forced to suspend that scheme after demonstrators took to the streets and drivers blocked roads across the country, saying it would hit business.

The news tolls will be introduced at the start of next year after three months of testing, officials said.

Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal is expected to officially unveil plans for the new toll later this week.

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