V8 State of Mind

HGVs damage the roads? They more than pay for it!

HGVs damage the roads? They more than pay for it!


Lorries wreck the roads...



For how long have we been hearing this?


Wagons are the reason infrastructure spending is so high...


Etc etc.

But of course, we shouldn't be surprised. It's just another way in which HGV drivers terrorise the UK, on or off the tarmac!


For some of us, by now, this is all oil off a pelican's back.


Like the sacrificial scapegoats of old, we're bearing the weight of the nation's sins. Or at least, you'd be forgiven for thinking as much.


But hey, hold your horses! Some recent statistics suggest we may have a case against our accusers.


An independent study's shown that HGVs, far from causing infrastructural decay, are actually responsible for the high standards of UK road maintenance. No, that's not sarcasm - each time you see a smooth, freshly-paved dual carriageway, you can bet with confidence that lorry levies have paid for it.


I'll repeat that in terms even government bureaucrats can't fog up: the taxes charged against HGVs pay for nearly all of the road maintenance in Britain.


What are the figures?


That HGVs damage the roads has long been a complaint on the lips of non-professional motorists. Why should we be taxed for the damage that they do? Well, this new study shows that wagons more than pay for the wear and tear they cause. 


In fact, taxes on lorries account for 94% of the UK's total road maintenance spending. What does that boil down to? Basically, HGVs shell out three times more than the estimated cost of damage to the roads. 


To get a touch more involved: between 2015 and 2016, the total spent by UK central and devolved governments and local authorities on road maintenance was £4.7 billion.  Heavy goods vehicle taxes (vehicle excise duty, road user levy and fuel duty) raised in that period amounted to £4.4 billion.  However, the estimated cost of HGV-related infrastructure damage totalled a mere £1.5 billion.

The total take from taxing motor vehicles was £33.5 billion – over seven times as high as the road maintenance budget.


Where's this surplus of sterling going? Well, probably not on the roads.


Head of National & Regional Policy for the FTA (on whose behalf the report was conducted), Christopher Snelling, said:


“Taxes on UK road freight are already the highest in Europe – any further increase would add to the cost of doing business in the UK and the cost of goods in the shops.  Instead of raising duty, the Government should cut taxes on road freight to help stimulate the economy.

“The fact that HGV taxes alone almost pay for the whole of UK road maintenance also shows that Britain still does not support the quality of the roads well enough.  Whether it is potholes, road closures or long running road works, we all suffer when the roads do not work as they should.  Congestion is bad for the environment as well as the economy.  The UK Government should provide for more spending by Highways England and our local authorities to ensure the roads are fit for purpose.” 


Can you hear that? It's unmistakeable: the sound of pockets being lined.


All's not lost, however. Not quite yet, anyway. There's still time to get answers to your most pressing questions. If you haven't heard about our new webinar series, 'ASK CHRIS', then now is the time to look into it. Chris Allen, our famous EU Drivers' Hours expert and author of the HGV Drivers' Hours Handbook, is running his last webinar of the series on 13th Feb @ 13:00. To get your questions answered, simply hit the button below and get yourself registered:


Give me an answer



Picture of Rex Grainger
Written by Rex Grainger

Chronicling life behind the V8; off the analogue, on the RTD and very vroom-vroom...

Get On The Next Webinar

Found this useful? Stay in the loop: