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New Driving Laws in 2020

Don’t get caught out - and make sure your employees don’t either if they need to drive for business. Here are some new laws coming into force in 2020 to be aware of:

Low Emissions

If you wish to drive into city centres, you need to check that your vehicle meets the Ultra Low Emission Zone emissions standards (you can check online if you look up the city to which you wish to drive).

If your vehicle doesn’t meet emissions standards you will have to pay a charge to drive in the defined area. The ban affects older diesel cars more heavily.

London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) came into force in April 2019 (replacing the previous T-charge scheme). It currently applies to Central London and will be extended to all of inner London in 2021. From 26 October 2020 the wider Low Emission Zone (LEZ) emissions standards will be tougher for heavier vehicles.

Birmingham is introducing its own scheme in July 2020 and a Leeds scheme was expected to start in January 2020 but has been delayed. Other cities where the low emissions ban may come into force include Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Newcastle, Derby and Edinburgh.

Car Tax

Road Tax increased by £5 in 2020 across the board. Owners of high emission cars will be charged up to an additional £15. Diesel car owners whose vehicles fail to meet the new mandatory RDE2 emissions standard will continue to pay higher tax rates.

Cars registered from April 2020 will be taxed according to WLTP carbon dioxide (CO2) emission figures.

HM Treasury has created two new benefit-in-kind (BIK) tables for company car drivers in 2020/21 - for cars registered before and after 6 April 2020. For zero emission cars in 2020/21 the tax is cut to 0% from the previously announced 2% so company car drivers driving purely electric cars will be paying no BIK tax at all in 2020/21, increasing to 1% the year after. From 2023/24 rates are realigned so only one BIK tax table will apply.

Driving in Europe

Once Britain leaves the EU at the end of January, be aware that you will need to ensure you have the following documents in addition to the ones already required:

●      an insurance green card (available from your insurer - must cover anything towed as well as your vehicle)

●      one or more international driving permits (either or both of the 1949 and the 1968 permits, depending on which country you are driving through - available to buy from the Post Office)

●      a separate GB sticker (even if you have a blue number plate with a GB, if the UK leaves without a deal you will need a stand-alone sticker).

Commercial Drivers

The government has issued guidance to drivers who work commercially across the EU and UK.

Most international journeys can be completed up until 31 July 2020 without extra permits even if there is a no-deal Brexit, but employers should ensure that all regulations are complied with.

Posted on 8 January, 2020 by Ortolan

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