Changes to the HGV Road User Levy have come into effect in February 2009, where owners of vehicles meeting the EURO VI emissions standards will be eligible for a 10 percent reduction in the charge.

According to Government statistics, the cleanest lorries generate 80% less nitrogen emissions than the dirtiest. Vehicles which do not meet the latest standards will be expected to pay 20% more. IT is estimated that more than half of UK vehicles will pay less when the new changes come into place.

Introduced to cover wear and tear costs on UK roads, the new levy is designed to encourage companies to switch to the latest vehicles.

Roads Minister Jesse Norman said, “The government is committed to improving the air we breathe and delivering a green revolution in transport. Heavy goods vehicles account for around a fifth of harmful nitrogen oxide emissions from road transport but they only travel 5% of the total miles. That’s why we’re changing the HGV levy to encourage firms to phase out the most polluting lorries and bring in the cleanest ones.”

Environment minister Thérèse Coffey said, “Air pollution has increased significantly since 2010, but we recognise there is more to do which is why we have put in place a £3.5 billion plan to improve air quality and reduce harmful emissions.”

Jon Laws, Managing Director, Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, comments: “It’s right for the Government to implement measures aimed at improving air quality by reducing harmful nitrogen oxide emissions. However transforming HGV fleets away from diesel so they’re using alternative fuel and adopting cleaner air technologies is a step-change that can’t be achieved overnight. There is currently no approved Euro VI retrofit option for hauliers and the impact of the HGV levy, combined with incoming clean air zones (CAZs) is putting pressure on haulage and goods companies throughout the UK. As one of the UK’s leading provider of HGV leasing and fleet management services, Hitachi Vehicle Solutions is embracing new technology and alternative fuel strategies to address these challenges and delivering cost effective solutions for customers.

“We’ve seen a 200% increase in our compressed natural gas HGV fleet in the last 12 months which is hugely encouraging. However the migration will take time and considered investment, so it will be a gradual evolution of HGV fleets. Once made, the benefits from cost savings to a greener and more compliant fleet will be substantial, enabling the total cost of ownership model to work for both the customer, and indeed the environment.”