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New toll to replace controversial Ecotax in France

Porticoes Ecotax/files.
Porticoes Ecotax/files. Reuters/Stéphane Mahé

The controversial Ecotax on heavy goods vehicles, that caused major protests last autumn, has been dumped.

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A new toll for heavy goods vehicles is to be introduced, according to reports leaked by local newspaper, Ouest France.

According to the paper, the new charge will be placed on vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes as of the beginning of next year.

It will apply to 4000 kilometers of road that receive over 2,500 heavy goods vehicles per day.

These roads are the major  "Nationale" roads that run parallel to the main motorways, which already charge tolls.

After the news was leaked, Prime Minister Manuel Valls made an announcement confirming the plans and outlining potential systems for collecting the funds.

This new charge replaces the Ecotax that the former prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault was forced to suspend last autumn.

Agricultural workers across France said that the tax was unfair and protestors in the north western region of Brittany clashed with police.

Milk lorries will be exempt from the new charge.

Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal is expected to officially unveil the plans for the new toll later this week.

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