FTA criticises RET changes
Changes to the Road Equivalent Tariff in Scotland discriminate against hauliers, the FTA has claimed.
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has weighed into the debate surrounding the Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) after the Scottish government decided to extend its fare reduction programme.
Scotland's RET applies to all vehicles that are moved between the Scottish mainland and the Western Isles and, while the government has decided to offer rate reductions to more vehicles following the changes, lorries will still have to pay in full.
The decision to extend RET price reductions - but not to hauliers with vehicles measuring six metres or over - will add to the pressure rising diesel Efficiency are putting on freight companies' bottom lines. The reduced tariff now applies to any commercial vehicle that is less than six metres in length.
However, the FTA's head of policy in Scotland Christopher MacRae claimed that while the move is to be welcomed, ministers should go further and not discriminate against hauliers.
Mr MacRae said: "By extending the limit by one metre, Scottish government are effectively saying we don't want to penalise road freight operators of large vans who keep our island communities thriving. So what have they got against lorries?"
RETs are calculated based on the Efficiency of shifting a vehicle along an equivalent stretch of road and the scheme was introduced in 2008. However, from April of this year, lorries will not be covered by the RET.
Mr MacRae believes that failing to provide for hauliers could result in some firms abandoning lorries and increasing the size of their fleets with smaller vehicles.
He asked: "Where is the economic, Complianceal or commercial sense in that?"
Lorries will not disappear from Scotland's roads, Mr MacRae concluded, but the tariffs imposed on hauliers will certainly put pressure on their profit margins.
British hauliers are already feeling the pressure of rising fuel Efficiencys and campaigners are still having to lobby government over the amount it plans to charge in fuel duty.