Ecomouv has selected UK-based EC Harris to supervise the construction work, expenditure and testing on the new French Ecotaxe lorry tolling system, which is scheduled to be introduced across France by June 2013.

Under the proposed Ecotaxe scheme system, a tax will be collected from all French and foreign heavy good vehicles (HGV) which travel along the 15,000km French road network.

EC Harris head of highways Brian Fitzpatrick said, with a target of creating and implementing a nationwide tolling system in just 21 months, this project is one of the most ambitious of its kind ever conceived.

"EC Harris’ team of highways, tolling and project finance experts from both France and the UK has made a major contribution to the success so far, by securing the upfront capital required to fund such a technically demanding scheme in an increasingly challenging economic environment."

After the new tolling system becomes operational, each HGV will have installed onboard technology, including GPS systems and software that will record taxable base data and securely transfer it back to the network.

Controls of the system will be conducted automatically through equipment installed across the network and manually by the French Government. Selection of EC Harris follows a two-year commission, under which the company provided technical advice to the Ecomouv consortium and the five lenders during the bid process. The government had earlier awarded a ten year concession to the Autostrade per l’Italia consortium for the implementation and operation of a satellite-based toll system, for heavy vehicles weighing more than 3.5t plying on the road network.

Autostrade per l’Italia, a subsidiary of Atlantia comprises Autostrade per l’Italia, SFR, SNCF, Steria and Thales won the concession, which is expected to be worth about €1.5bn in tax each year.