Long before 2023 set in, the UK government already set new driving rules in place. The new rules are intended to ensure that drivers are safe and roads are fit for travel. Some driving rules are also meant to address air quality problems.
This year, the government has several new rules in place, including the expansion of the ULEZ (Ultra-Low Emission Zone). These are five of the many changes already being implemented or about to be implemented this year.
August 2023 – Ultra-Low Emission Zone expansion
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced last year that the Ultra-Low Emission Zone or ULEZ will be expanded this August. The first time it was expanded, roads found within the south and north Circular areas were added to the coverage. For this second expansion, the ULEZ will include all 33 boroughs of London.
Mayor Sadiq said the expansion is expected to aid in the fight against pollution, air quality improvement, and the UK’s zero-emissions goal.
Drivers whose vehicles are emissions-compliant do not have to worry about the expansion. Those who are driving old models and vehicles with high emission levels will be affected and have to pay the ULEZ charge, which is worth £12.50.
Using mobile phones while driving
The UK government has banned the use of mobile phones when one is driving. Anytime a person is behind the wheel of a vehicle, they are not allowed to use their mobile phones. This was introduced in 2022 but further strengthened this year.
Even if a driver is just holding the phone and not using it, they can still be fined for violating driving rules. This also applies to sat-nav and tablets and any similar device.
The rule applies even if the vehicle is in a queue or if the traffic light is stationary.
The only exception to this mobile phone use policy is when the driver is using the phone to call 999, when the driver is in a drive-thru queue, or when the vehicle is parked safely.
VED for electric vehicles
VED or Vehicle Excise Duty, also known as car tax or vehicle tax, is now required for electric vehicles that were registered from April 1, 2017, and onwards. Payments shall commence beginning in April 2025.
Additionally, EVs that were purchased after April 2025 will stay in the lowest tax bracket in the first year with a rate of only £10. After year one, it will move on to the standard rate of £165.
Owners of EVs valued over £40,000 have to pay the additional charge of £355. Such vehicles were previously exempted from paying the extra fee.
As such, electric vehicle owners have two years of 0 vehicle excise duty. Diesel and petrol car owners, on the other hand, must pay the £165 minimum flat rate.
Scrappage scheme now available
Starting last January 30, The Mayor of London’s scrappage scheme has already been made available. This scheme is intended to aid Londoners who have been or are being affected by the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone.
The scrappage scheme is available only to Londoners who are beneficiaries of London-registered charities and small businesses.
Zero-emission-capable private hire vehicles
Beginning last January 1, private hire vehicles in London that were licensed for the first time are required to be capable of zero emissions. This is part of Mayor Sadiq’s action plan for a cleaner and safer city, and the bigger plan of attaining net-zero carbon by the year 2030.
This is a significant change from the previous mandate requiring vehicles below 18 months old and registered for the first time.
Paying attention to emissions
The term “emissions” has been in the automobile industry’s vocabulary for years. However, it gained popularity in 2015 when the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal broke out.
That year, in September, the Volkswagen Group received a Notice of Violation from authorities in the US who allegedly found defeat devices in Audi and Volkswagen diesel vehicles that were sold in the American market.
A defeat device senses when a vehicle is being tested. Once this happens, it automatically lessens emissions to within the World Health Organization’s (WHO) limits so the vehicle would appear emissions-compliant to regulators.
In reality, though, a defeat device-equipped vehicle is a pollutant as it emits massive amounts of NOx or nitrogen oxide once driven on real roads. NOx is a group of gases that has harmful effects on the environment and human health.
Volkswagen was ordered to recall all affected vehicles. They also had to pay fees and fines, something that they continue to do today.
The VW Group isn’t the only carmaker involved in the diesel emissions scandal; there are more, including Mercedes-Benz, Vauxhall, and BMW.
These carmakers lied to their customers and mis-sold high-polluting vehicles as clean and safe. Authorities believe they should be held responsible for their deceit and illegal actions.
Bringing defeat device-using carmakers to court through a diesel claim is the best thing any affected car owner can do.
Am I eligible for my diesel claim?
Before you can file a diesel claim, you must verify first if you have the right to receive compensation.
It’s simple: all you have to do is visit Emissions.co.uk and gather all the information you need. Once you’re verified, you can start working with an emissions expert to get your case moving.