Proudly delivering another public service – Northgate Public Services and the HGV Road User Levy

1 April 2014
transport public

Northgate Public Services today announces the launch of the HGV Road User Levy, in conjunction with the Department for Transport.  The Levy is a new, time-based charge that must be paid by all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) of 12 tonnes or more.  It applies to UK and foreign registered HGVs, using UK roads from 1 April 2014. Northgate has responsibility for the design and operation of the payment system and associated database that operators and drivers of non-UK registered HGVs will use to purchase the Levy before the vehicle enters the UK.   An estimated 130,000 individual foreign HGVs enter the UK each year making a total of 1.5 million trips.

The contract to deliver the Foreign Operator Payment System (FOPS) was awarded to Northgate in September 2013 by the Department for Transport. The introduction of the Levy is a Coalition Government commitment.  It is intended to create a fairer system of taxation for HGVs in which all vehicles make a contribution to the road wear costs they impose when they are using UK roads. The Levy payment varies according to the weight of the HGV, axle configuration and vehicle type. 

Northgate is responsible for the set up, management and operation of FOPS.  The system will enable foreign operators, drivers or booking agents to purchase the Levy in advance of a vehicle using UK roads through a number of sales channels.  Foreign operators can pay daily, weekly, monthly or annually depending on their operational requirements, with discounts available for longer levy periods. FOPS is available in six major European languages.

The Levy can be paid in one of two ways.  Operators making regular journeys to the UK can set up a registered account whereby vehicle details are pre-loaded into the system.  Alternatively, where vehicles make infrequent trips to the UK, the Levy can be paid on a ‘pay and go’ basis.  When the ‘pay and go’ payment method is used, users will see pictures to help those who might not speak one of the available languages, and the vehicle details must be entered each time a levy is bought. 

Registered account transactions are undertaken entirely online.  For pay and go transactions, the driver has a choice of online, telephone or at point of sale terminals. Northgate is enabling payment over the telephone through its multi lingual contact centre, which will also support customer service queries.  Drivers will be able to pay the levy by card or cash at the physical points of sale, which will be located at truck stops before entering the UK and on some ferries.  Drivers will be able to top-up their levy at a limited number of point of sale sites in the UK. 

The FOPS includes a database of foreign HGVs that have paid the levy.  This will provide the ability for drivers to check the levy status of their vehicle through a public register.  This can be accessed via a free web portal, or through a ‘text to check’ service using a cloud based infrastructure.  The database will also enable authorities to identify and take action against HGVs which have not paid, or potentially underpaid the levy.

Dave Meaden, Chief Executive Officer, Northgate Public Services said: “The Department for Transport and Northgate Public Services have worked constructively together to deliver this innovative scheme to the April 2014 deadline, 12 months earlier than originally envisaged.

“We have a solid and successful track record in creating systems that are focused on enabling the public and creating more effective and efficient government services. Examples include the Blue Badge Service and our council tax collection system, which recovers over £16 billion per year. We are delighted today to launch the HGV Levy Payment Service.”

The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport said:“The Department for Transport welcomes the contribution of Northgate Public Services to the successful introduction of the HGV Road User Levy.  By charging foreign HGVs to use UK roads, the Levy provides a fairer deal for UK hauliers. Development of an easy to use payment system that supports effective enforcement is essential to it.”

For more information on the new levy go to: