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Monday
Apr182016

Government denies ‘anti-diesel’ agenda

The Government has insisted that it carries no anti-diesel agenda, despite concerns from the fleet industry as a whole that the Volkswagen Group emissions scandal has started to negatively impact tax decisions.

As part of that the Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne delayed removal of the 3 per cent company car diesel supplement until April 2021.  The supplement was originally planned to be removed in April 2016.

The chancellor said that this was ‘in light of the slower-than-expected introduction of more rigorous EU emissions testing.’  However, a number of fleet industry experts have speculated that the VW emissions scandal influenced the decision.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones sought to try and put the VW crisis into ‘perspective’ as part of his address to delegates at the recent 2015 BVRLA industry conference.

Mr Jones said:

“The Government is not anti-diesel.”

“Diesel cars have played, and continue to play, a valuable role in reducing fuel usage and emissions of CO2.”

The UK government is currently under a lot of pressure to tackle air quality, following on from its failure to meet EU limits on NO2.  The Supreme Court ordered the UK government to create a new air quality plan by the end of the year. 

38 out of the UK’s 43 geographical zones are currently failing EU air quality standards.

Mr Jones said:

“Tackling air quality is a priority for the Government”.

“There are at least 29,000 early deaths each year associated with poor air quality,” he said. “This is unacceptable.

“The Government recently consulted on its air quality plans.

“A major important part of the approach is for local action on clean air zones.

“We will continue to work with DEFRA [Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] on common standards for clean air zones.

“This is designed to give long-term certainty to the leasing and rental sector.”

Mr Jones also added that it was important for the Government to try and influence local organisations to adopt common standards, and that the government was determined to continue to invest in initiatives that helped to tackle emissions problems.

Initiatives backed included the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs), with the government setting a target of almost every car on Britain’s roads being ULEV by the year 2050.

Tuesday
Mar292016

VIC scheme abolished: how does it impact you?

The Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) scheme was abolished late last year following lengthy consultation between the Department for Transport (DfT) and key stakeholders.

The developments have been long-overdue with many members of the Motor Vehicle Dismantlers Association (MVDA) calling for change in recent years.

The VIC scheme originated in 2003 when the DfT attempted to reduce car ringing which, at the time, was costing the national economy as much as £3bn a year. Car ‘ringing’ is the passing-off of stolen cars as accident or damage-repaired vehicles; resulting in innocent car buyers purchasing a vehicle that is later found to be stolen.

The VIC scheme enforced insurers to place a marker against a written-off vehicle against all of its DVLA records and the DVLA would refuse to issue a replacement V5 log book until the vehicle had been subjected to a VIC test and passed with flying colours.

Applicable to all Category A, B and C vehicles seeking to return to the road, VICs were undertaken at test centres throughout the country by the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) across England, Scotland and Wales and the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland.

Why has the scheme been scrapped?

From October 1st 2015, the VIC scheme no longer applied to Category C vehicles, unless a VIC test slot had already been booked in prior to this date. Cat A and B vehicles were unable to obtain a V5 certificate after 26th October 2015.

Subsequently, those with Cat C vehicles looking to get back on the road no longer need to book a VIC test slot, they can instead proceed to secure a replacement V5 log book from the DVLA in the normal manner.

It has been suggested in certain quarters that the scheme itself has been far from a success given that it has reportedly identified just 40 ‘ringers’ from the 916,000-plus vehicles subjected to VICs.

In addition, much-needed advancements in vehicle technology have helped to make it harder than ever to ‘ring’ cars. The related costs for maintaining such a scheme have also been attributed to the DfT’s eventual decision to end VICs.

How does this affect you?

You’ll no longer need to fork out £41 to pay for your VIC test to get a Cat C vehicle back on the road. This, combined with the time saved transporting your vehicle and the potential for a waiting list of up to six weeks, makes it easier and cheaper to get a car back on the road than before.

At ASM Auto Recycling we sell thousands of salvage vehicles at auction and have been serving the UK’s salvage market since 1984.

Sourced direct from insurance companies, you can inspect our vehicles up for auction before you even place a bid. It’s never been easier to get a damaged vehicle back on the road legally.

Tuesday
Mar082016

Government confirms zero emissions target

The Government has now re-affirmed its commitment for almost all cars and vans on UK roads to be completely zero emission by 2050.

The UK was one of 13 international members of the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Alliance to sign a commitment as part of a climate summit in Paris, with the aim being to promote cleaner motoring as well as slashing transport emissions. 

Other members to agree included Germany, Holland, Norway and the US State of California.  The targets also include a commitment to make all passenger vehicle sales zero emission by the 2050 deadline.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said:

“The UK already has the largest market for ultra-low emission vehicles in the EU, and the fourth largest in the world and today’s pledge reaffirms our commitment to ensuring almost every car and van is a zero emission vehicle by 2050.

“Electric cars are greener and cheaper to run and we are making them more affordable, spending more than £600 million between 2015 and 2020 to support the uptake and manufacturing of ultra-low emission vehicles here in the UK.

“By leading international efforts on this issue, we are playing our part in helping achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions of more than 1 billion tonnes per year across the world by 2050.”

The ZEV Alliance was first formed in September 2015, with the aim of helping to increase uptake of greener vehicles through international co-operation.

Other members of the Alliance include Germany, The Netherlands and Norway as well as the US States of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Philippa Oldham, the head of transport and manufacturing at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said:

"The Government has set an ambitious and admiral target, but it is easy for long-term targets to be set by politicians who won't be in office by 2050.

"It is imperative that this is followed by a clear and enforceable roadmap on how it is going to be achieved.  

“Not only do we need greater research and development spending to drive down the cost of low carbon vehicles, and improve their performance. It is critical that we look at the infrastructure supporting these vehicles as those that use electricity will need to have zero carbon electricity to charge them up to be truly carbon neutral.”

Wednesday
Feb172016

Two out of three drivers suffer from pothole damage

Photo by Duncan Hull (CC BY 2.0)Two-thirds of company car and van drivers have suffered some form of damage as a result of hitting a pothole in the last year, according to data from the RAC Foundation.

Almost 29,000 drivers made claims against councils for damage caused in the last financial year.  According to the survey, over £2 million was paid out overall.

Between the 200 local highway authorities in England, Scotland and Wales that responded to the freedom of information request, 28,971 compensation claims in total were made.  This is the equivalent of one claim every 18 minutes, though councils paid compensation on just 25 per cent of claims made.

There was a substantial difference between the different councils in terms of payout.  Bury paid out 88 per cent of cases and Plymouth 86 per cent, but 21 of the councils paid out no claims at all.

According to data from the RAC Foundation, the average settlement for a successful claim increased to £294 for the 2014/15 financial year, an increase from the £286 averaged in the previous year. 

Steve Gooding, the director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“One reading of these figures could be that local roads are in better condition than they were. But that does not square with councils’ own assessment that the road maintenance backlog is actually growing, not falling.”

Last year, the government announced that £6 billion would be set aside to tackling potholes and improve local roads between 2015 and 2021: an investment of £976 million each year, and enough to fix around 18m potholes across the country.

According to the government’s own estimates, meanwhile, bringing local roads in England back to a state fit for purpose would cost £8.6bn.

Thursday
Jan282016

DfT rules out road safety targets

The Department for Transport (DfT) has ruled out re-introducing road casualty reduction targets, despite repeated requests from both the safety and fleet industries to do so.

The DfT has told Fleet News that local authorities are simply better placed to improve road safety, and can be more effective than a centralised body.

The government cut the road casualty reduction target in 2010.  The targets had originally been introduced in 1987 to help reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries occurring on UK roads.

There remains a strong consensus within the road safety industry that annual targets can continue to play a strong role in helping to reduce both.

A DfT spokesman said:

“Britain continues to have some of the safest roads in the world, but every death is a tragedy and we are determined to do more.

“We are making sure that we have the right legal, education, and investment frameworks in place to make our roads safer. We have already introduced new laws, given the police tougher powers to tackle dangerous driving and are investing billions to improve the conditions of our road network.

“Local authorities are best placed to decide how to use these frameworks to make their roads safer, rather than having centralised national targets.”

Richard Owen, the road safety analysis operations director, claimed that the current government is against using targets in order to dictate policy.

“An example of this is hospital waiting times.  This was forcing hospitals to meet numbers and it was having a negative impact on patient care.

“The view from the road safety community however, is that targets do make a difference. 

“There is a wider EU target to reduce road fatalities by 50% by 2020, but a lack of clear UK targets takes away focus and sends a message that road safety is not a priority.”