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Truckers see ecotaxe axed

Gridlock no longer threat as Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal suspends controversial toll on lorries

LORRY drivers have cancelled planned roadblocks after the proposed péage de transit poids-lourds, which would have hit hauliers driving heavy loads was cancelled.

After a three-hour meeting with a delegation of transport bodies, Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal, decided to scrap the planned tax saying her priority was making a profit from motorways. She said she would instead impose taxes on motorway toll operators.

Green politicians denounced what they see as an irresponsible decision. National Secretary of the Europe Ecologie Les Verts (EELV), Emmanuelle Cosse, told i-Télé: “I am scandalised that in this country, just as a new law on greener energy is being discussed, we are not capable of having measures strong enough to fight against air pollution and other matters when it comes to road use.”

The threat of lorry strikes earlier this week appeared to have had the desired effect. The plans to strike came a year after truckers caused gridlock nationwide, which led to the abandoning of the original écotaxe on heavy-goods vehicles.

Ms Royal had called on truckers to “calm down” after talks between the government and haulage groups broke down as they failed to reach an agreement over the proposed tolling system.

The tax on lorries weighing more than 3.5 tonnes was designed to raise funds to maintain roads and divert lorries from urban areas.

Transport unions had said the planned GPS system to track the distances travelled by a lorry was costly and that the tax would cost companies an extra 10% a year. They proposed a system of road tax discs instead.

The charges was to be implemented on just 4,000km of routes nationales and local roads, down from the 15,000km included under the shelved écotaxe.

The government will have to pay euros 850m in compensation to the Ecomouv consortium that won the contract to build the toll collection system if it completely abandons the ecotax according to Reuters .

Photo: XIIIfromTOKY

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