Frequently asked questions
1) What is a heavy goods vehicle charge?
Dutch and foreign trucks will pay to use Dutch roads on a per-kilometre-driven basis. The motor vehicle tax for trucks will be reduced to the European minimum. The Eurovignette charge will be abolished and replaced by a heavy goods vehicle charge.
2) Why is the government introducing a heavy goods vehicle charge?
The more kilometres trucks drive, the higher the charge they pay. Also, the cleaner and lighter the trucks, the less they have to pay. The government believes that a heavy goods vehicle charge will act as an incentive, encouraging the sector to opt for cleaner trucks and more efficient transport. The net proceeds will be invested in innovative and sustainable measures in the transport sector.
The government also wants foreign trucks driving through the Netherlands to pay a kilometre-based charge for their journey through this country. Dutch trucks travelling through Germany, Belgium and various other European countries are currently doing so, as these countries have already introduced a heavy goods vehicle charge.
3) Which European countries have already introduced a heavy goods vehicle charge?
A heavy goods vehicle charge has already been introduced in the following countries: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Switzerland.
4) What tariff will the heavy goods vehicle charge involve?
That depends on the truck’s weight and emissions. On average, it will be €0.15 per kilometre driven. The cleaner and lighter the truck, the lower the charge.
5) Which roads will be subject to the charge?
On almost all motorways, and (based on research and consultations with provincial authorities, municipalities, and water boards) on various major roads and local roads, to minimize any attempts to avoid sections of road that are subject to the charge.
6) How much revenue will the heavy goods vehicle charge generate per year?
On an annual basis, it is estimated that this charge will generate around €600 million in revenue. This will be used to cover the system costs and any income foregone due to the reduction in motor vehicle taxes, the loss of excise duties on fuel, and the abolition of the Eurovignette charge in the Netherlands. The net proceeds will be used to make the transport sector more sustainable and innovative.
7) How will the heavy goods vehicle charge system work?
An on-board unit (OBU) in the vehicle will be used to record the number of kilometres the truck drives, and which roads it uses. The suppliers of toll payment services will be responsible for registering and collecting the heavy goods vehicle charge. They will then transfer the money they collect to the Dutch government.
8) When will the heavy goods vehicle charge be introduced?
The Heavy Goods Vehicle Charge Programme will operate in parallel to – and in step with – policy, legislation, the charging system, and the arrangements for channelling the proceeds back. We are making every effort to introduce the heavy goods vehicle charge as soon as possible, and with all due diligence. Our aspirational schedule for introducing the heavy goods vehicle charge in 2023 is currently being revised.
9) What are the broad features of that schedule?
The introduction of the heavy goods vehicle charge is being prepared in four phases:
Phase 1: establishing policy principles within the policy framework (completed).
Phase 2: drafting the bill, preparing for implementation, and preparing the arrangements for channelling the proceeds back.
Phase 3: completing and testing the system.
Phase 4: introducing the heavy goods vehicle charge, implementing the sustainability and innovation agenda, and channelling the proceeds back.
10) Couldn’t we accelerate the introduction of the heavy goods vehicle charge by simply copying the Belgian system?
No, the charge requires specific legislation, in addition a charging system must be put out to tender and implemented. Experience in other countries (e.g. Belgium) shows that it takes at least five years to introduce a heavy goods vehicle charge.
11) Does the ‘polluter pays’ principle also apply in this case?
Indeed it does. The cleaner and lighter the truck, the less you have to pay per kilometre driven. The tariff charged will depend on the permitted maximum mass of the truck-trailer combination (in kilograms), and the truck’s EURO emission class (environmental classification).
12) How will the money collected be channelled back to the transport sector?
The motor vehicle tax for trucks will be reduced and the Eurovignette charge will be abolished in the Netherlands. Any remaining money will be invested in sustainable and innovative measures. To this end, a multiannual programme will be drawn up in close consultation with the sector. This will provide a basis for developing tangible measures.
13) What will happen to the Eurovignette charge?
The Eurovignette charge will be abolished in the Netherlands. However, Luxembourg, Sweden and Denmark will continue to operate the Eurovignette charge, for the time being.
14) How will the heavy goods vehicle charge impact mobility and sustainability?
This charge is expected to make the transport of goods by road more efficient. It may also result in a slight shift to transport by rail and inland shipping. The reduced level of freight traffic will produce an estimated reduction in CO2 of 0.15 to 0.2 megatons per year, while also cutting the emissions of particulate matter and NOx.
The proceeds will be used to make the transport sector more sustainable and innovative.
15) How will the heavy goods vehicle charge affect other toll payment schemes?
Trucks will not be double charged. At the toll payment points (such as the Westerschelde tunnel, the Kil tunnel, the Blankenburg connection, and the ViA15 project), imposing a heavy goods vehicle charge would be tantamount to double charging. Therefore, the heavy goods vehicle charge will not apply to those routes.
16) Will the charge only apply to Dutch drivers?
No. Dutch and foreign drivers will both have to pay the charge.
17) Will there be an opportunity for public participation in the planning process for the heavy goods vehicle charge?
Yes. An internet consultation on the draft bill took place in the summer of 2019 (from 26 June to 7 August). Modifications may be made to the draft bill, based on the responses received.
18) What about privacy?
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is applicable here. As a result, drivers’ privacy is guaranteed, and data will not be kept any longer than is strictly necessary.
19) What steps will be taken to restrict any adverse impacts of the heavy goods vehicle charge, such as drivers attempting to avoid sections of road that are subject to the charge?
The heavy goods vehicle charge will apply on almost all motorways. To prevent trucks from switching to other roads, in response to the introduction of the heavy goods vehicle charge, some of the surrounding minor roads have been included in the charge network.