In May 2018, the government announced a two month consultation on a proposal to introduce a new Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) for vans. The consultation, which is due to come to a close in July, presents an idea to incentivise van owners to buy newer, lower emission models by reducing their VED both in the first year of ownership and thereafter.
The current VED rate is a flat cost of £250, regardless of the vehicle’s emissions or age. Through the new incentive, depending on the emissions produced by the vehicle (classified as a light goods vehicle carrying less than 3,500 kg), the proposed rates are between £10 to £500 for the first year, moving to a flat rate of between £125 and £255.
Zero emission vehicles would continue to pay nothing, as per the current process.
On the proposals, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick, said “We want to help ‘white van man’ go green. We appreciate that buying a new van is a major investment for small businessmen and women and want to help make environmentally friendly choices more affordable.”
In addition to the VED proposal, the government has also announced tougher sanctions for vehicle manufacturers cheating on emission tests. Manufacturers could be forced to pay up to £50,000 for each new vehicle found to be fitted with a “defeat device”. Such devices allow vehicles to cheat the emissions tests and imply that the vehicle is emitting fewer emissions than it actually is.
The regulations come after it was discovered that Volkswagen had been using software to make their vehicle’s engines behave differently for emissions test.
On the regulations, Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: “There has rightly been a huge public outcry against car manufacturers that have been cheating on emissions standards. Their behaviour has been dishonest and deplorable. These tough new regulations are designed to ensure that those who cheat will be held to proper account in this country, legally and financially, for their actions.”
The new regulations are expected to come into force on July 1st 2018.
These consultations are part of efforts by the government to reduce air pollution and supports their recently updated Clean Air Strategy. Although still under consultation, the Strategy sets out a 25 year plan to:
- Halve the number of people living in locations where particulate matter is above the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines by 2025
- Give local government new powers to improve air quality.
- Introduce legislation to ensure only the cleanest domestic fuels will be available for sale
- Support farmers to invest in the infrastructure and equipment that will reduce emissions
- Develop new standards for tyres and brakes to enable us to address toxic non-exhaust emissions of micro plastics
- Provide advice and information on air pollution and accessible health advice to the public
- Invest in scientific research and innovation in clean technology to reduce emissions
On the strategy, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said “Air quality has improved significantly since 2010 but sixty years on from the historic Clean Air Act a clear truth remains – air pollution is making people ill, shortening lives and damaging our economy and environment… [The act] sets out the comprehensive action required across all parts of government to improve air quality”.
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