Categories
News Professional Driver

UK motorists could be faced with pay-per-mile road charging in the future

Drivers could be faced with pay-per-mile road charging and other fresh levies to plug a £40 billion financial black hole caused by the mass advent of electric cars, which are currently exempt from road tax and generate no fuel duty revenue.

The news comes after the cross-party Transport Select Committee announced it was starting a “national debate” on road pricing, with a formal inquiry beginning in 2020.

The Committee highlights that “road pricing does not only mean tolls”, with congestion and low emission zones being other possibilities, along with extra fees for heavy goods vehicles, and workplace parking levies.

Citing a desire to encourage a “modal shift” away from cars, and decarbonise the transport sector, the Select Committee wants the national debate to be open to “drivers and non-drivers alike”, while the inquiry will consider the pros and cons of road pricing and its economic, environmental, and social effects.

Pay-per-mile charging

Road tolls, GPS data loggers (mandatory on new cars from 2022), the UK’s vast ANPR camera network (which scans 10 billion number plates a year), or a combination of all three could be used to charge drivers based on the length of their journeys.

Workplace parking taxes

Drivers who park at work could be charged for the privilege of doing so. Nottingham council already runs a WPL scheme, charging employers (including schools) with more than 10 staff £415 per parking space, per year. Birmingham is also proposing a WPL.

More charging zones

London’s Congestion Charge Zone generated £1.9billion in net revenue up to 2017, while the ultra low-emission Zone charges owners of pre-Euro 6 diesel cars or pre-Euro 4 petrol extra to enter the Zone. 

Other towns or cities that have considered or are considering emission zones include Birmingham, Bath and Glasgow.

HGV levies

Lorries weighing over 12 tonnes are already liable for the HGV levy, which costs up to £1,200 a year, depending on lorry type and emissions class. Foreign trucks are also subject to levies. Ministers could opt to increase the charge of make its conditions stricter.

The UK’s long road to road charging

The fact that the Treasury faces a huge revenue loss due to EVs not using petrol or diesel and currently being exempt from VED has been an elephant in the room for some time. It was only last week that the Institute for Fiscal Studies recommended the introduction of road pricing to recoup lost fuel duty and vehicle excise duty (VED) revenue. Back in 2007, the then Labour government scrapped proposals that would have seen drivers pay up to £1.30 per mile following public opposition.

Auto Express, meanwhile, submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Treasury in October 2018 asking what methods the Government was considering replacing VED and fuel duty revenue lost to EVs. Our request was refused as it related to “an area of live policy development.”

And in 2017 Edmund King, president of the AA, and his wife proposed a ‘Road Miles’ system that would see each driver given an annual mileage allowance that they could trade or swap with other drivers, while also being able to buy extra miles by entering auctions and lotteries.

Announcing the start of the debate, Lilian Greenwood, chair of the Transport Select Committee, said: “We need to ask how we will pay for roads in the future and in answering that question we have an opportunity for a much wider debate about our use of road space, cutting carbon emissions, tackling congestion, modal shift and how we prioritise active travel.

Categories
News

“B” is for Bad Weather and Not Brexit In October?

Through the weekend and into next week it looks like heavy rain at times and strong winds, it stays wet and windy until the end of Wednesday.

Then comes the cold with temperatures are set to sink below freezing in Scotland by the middle of the month.

That means odds on a white Christmas are sure to be slashed with conditions set to get much worse in 2020.

falling temperatures so far this month have prompted an early flurry of bets on us having a White Christmas this year.

“As always in our White Christmas betting, the Scottish and northern cities in England have the shortest odds on snow fall but we are also seeing bets on London seeing the white stuff this year.”

Weather forecaster James Madden explained why things are about to change. 

“October is now looking like it will turn out to be colder than average with more of a chance of something wintery setting in through the second half of the month,” he said

There is a strong chance of widespread frosts and the chance of snowfall which will set the scene for November.

This will pave the way for what is shaping up to be a colder than average winter with some extreme cold weather events.

While these could start to make an impact within the next few weeks, they will be particularly troublesome from December onwards.

Snow events have been few and far between in recent years, but this winter is looking favourable to bring snow event after snow event as weather systems from the Atlantic clash with cold stagnated air over the UK.

This is relevant as solar energy effects ocean currents including the Gulf Stream currents which have a knock-on effect on the jet stream brining cold air in the UK and bringing these weather patterns.

Applying these factors to long-range weather indications can successfully allow us to identify cold weather patterns coming up.

Similar methods have allowed us to identify some previous record-breaking cold weather events such as those seen in 2010 and 2013 when cold weather lasted into spring

Categories
Professional Driver

Drivers face a £1,000 fine if they don’t declare these medical conditions

Money to burn – Don’t throw it away. 

Thousands of drivers could find themselves stuck with a hefty fine if they fail to declare medical conditions to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Whilst some conditions are more of a given, such as epilepsy and heart conditions, others are rather less obvious.

Eating disorders and Déjà vu also make the list of illnesses that should be declared to avoid being slapped with a £1,000 fine.

Motoring experts at LeaseCar.uk has published a list which the DVLA say they must be told about.

A spokesperson said: “There are some conditions however, that seem too unrelated to even consider spending the time to fill out a form to tell the DVLA about.

“If you suffer a broken limb or severe head injury that affects your memory or ability to perform everyday tasks, you’re also probably not going to be able to operate a vehicle safely either.

“In these cases, it seems obvious that you’d have to let the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency know about it.”

Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at Confused.com, also added: “Knowing which conditions you do and don’t need to flag to the DVLA can be confusing. Things that might seem minor, such as headaches and déjà vu, can actually affect your ability to drive safely.

“Many drivers don’t realise that an undisclosed medical condition can not only result in a hefty fine, but also invalidate your car insurance. If you’re in an accident and you need to make a claim, but you’ve not notified the DVLA of your condition, this could be a real issue.”

The medical conditions that could see motorists hit with a £1,000 fine if not declared:

Déjà vu

We often talk about this in passing when we feel like we have seen, heard or said something very similar before as the French terms literally translates in to “already seen”.

But surprisingly, it is one of the health conditions that the DVLA say could affect your driving.

However, this applied to medically induced déjà vu which can be associated with certain types of epilepsy.

According to the NHS, a symptom of simple partial (focal) seizures, or ‘auras’ as they may be known, is “a feeling that events have happened before (déjà vu).”

Sleep Apnoea

Sleep Apnoea

Sleep Apnoea

Sleep Apnoea is a relatively common condition which sees the walls of the the throat relax and narrow during sleep which interrupts normal breathing.

Man with sleep apnea and CPAP machine

This can lead to interrupted sleep which can have a negative impact on your health and your life increasing the risk of developing certain conditions.

It could also cause you to fall asleep at the wheel and it goes without saying that this is very dangerous.

Eating disorders

Though it may not be immediately obvious that an eating disorder could affect your ability to drive, side effects of such ilnesses could cause you to feel weak or dizzy.

Therefore it is something you must tell the DVLA if it affects your ability to drive safely. This can be spoken about with your doctor if you are unsure.

Labyrinthitis

Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection that causes the delicate structure deep in your ear – called the labyrinth – to become inflamed.

This can then affect your hearing and balance which can be crucial when it comes to getting behind the wheel.

a woman talking on a cell phone: Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection © PA Photo/thinkstockphotos Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection

Usually, the infections will clear up in a few weeks and there would be no need to declare this as a medical condition.

However in some cases, symptoms can last longer and impact your ability to carry out regular tasks.

This can include some hearing loss and changes in vision, such as blurred vision or double vision.

Arthritis

A common condition that affects more than 10 million people, arthritis causes pain and inflammation to a joint such as the hands, spine, knees and hips.

If the condition affects your driving and has lasted more than three months then you should contact the DVLA.

Other medical conditions

Heart conditions, diabetes or a brain condition or severe head injury as well as epilepsy, stroke, neurological and mental health conditions and physical disabilities and visual impairments should also be decalred.

You can find a full list of the medical conditions the DVLA need to know about on the Government website here.