This year is going to be a busy and important one in a whole series of ways, so let us take you through some of the key dates for your shiny new diary.
31 JANUARY AND 31 DECEMBER
That big Conservative General Election victory has made the pathway to Brexit much smoother, with the ratification of the withdrawal deal expected to be completed by the end of this month. We’ll then enter an intensive period of trade negotiations ahead of the UK actually leaving the EU at the end of 2020. With, or without, an exit deal.
BRISTOL CLEAN AIR ZONE – THE NEXT STAGE
Bristol City Council has proposed a complete ban on private diesel vehicles in a small area in the centre of city from March 2021, alongside a wider clean air zone that will charge “non-compliant commercial vehicles such as buses, taxis, HGVs and LGVs”, although diesel commercial vehicles that have paid the daily charge will be allowed into the inner zone where diesel private cars are banned. If you follow. The council has said its Full Business Case document will be submitted in February, after the Outline Business Case was approved late last year.
SCOTTISH LOW EMISSION ZONES
Transport Scotland is in the middle of a consultation on the national framework for the introduction of low emission zones, with air quality in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow under the microscope. The latter city introduced a low emission zone that applies to local buses just over a year ago, and will expand that by the end of 2022. The consultation can be found on the Scottish Government website, and closes on 24 February.
“2020 heralds a year of zero BiK on full electric vehicles. Will this lead to a big switch?”
With the Conservatives having won a resounding majority in the December General Election, the chancellor Sajid Javid will use his March budget to set out a more concrete future plan, which should include a rubber-stamping of the next few years’ worth of company car benefit-in-kind tax rates, and could also cover future plans for fuel duty, VED and plug-in vehicle incentives.
ROAD CHARGING CONSULTATION
The first step on a path to fundamental change in the way we pay for using the roads could be taken this spring with the expected launch of a consultation into road user charging. As more people move to electric vehicles, the amount raised via fuel duty will drop,
so a new long-term plan for replacing that revenue needs to be put into effect, and a consultation document should be published in the early part of this year.
NEW TAX YEAR
The new tax year brings big changes to the company car benefit-in-kind bands, with all bar the lowest emission vehicles jumping in terms of tax liability for new cars registered from the start of April. This is because of the switch to WLTP emissions test figures, which are likely to lead to noticeable increases in monthly bills versus the same car registered before April. But it also heralds a year of zero BiK on full electric vehicles, potentially helping to fuel a big switch.
COMMERCIAL VEHICLE SHOW
The CV Show returns to Birmingham’s NEC in April, with major brands including Ford, Fiat Professional, Nissan, Renault, Vauxhall and Volkswagen already confirmed to attend, as well as newcomers such as the London Electric Vehicle Company. Entry is free, with registration already open at www.cvshow.com.
LONDON MAYORAL ELECTIONS
The candidates will be officially announced on Friday 3 April, but we already know that current London mayor Sadiq Khan will stand for a second term for Labour, going up against among others Conservative Shaun Bailey and former Tory leadership hopeful and independent candidate Rory Stewart. The mayor’s role includes responsibility for policy and budget planning for transport, environment, health and security, and the mayor’s position has been the driving force behind the introduction of the city’s congestion charge and low-emission zones.
BIRMINGHAM CLEAN AIR ZONE
1 JULY 2020
The biggest Clean Air Zone project outside of London will come into effect on 1 July, six months later than originally planned after a tech-related delay. Operating all day every day, the zone covers all areas inside the A4540 Middleway ring road, although not the road itself, and all non-compliant cars, vans, minibuses and taxis will be charged £8 per day to enter, rising to £50 per day for HGVs, buses and coaches. Euro4-standard petrol and Euro6 diesel models are exempt, along with all electric and hydrogen vehicles.
CENTRAL OXFORD ZERO-EMISSION ZONE
Although still only at the final draft proposal stage, Oxford City and Oxfordshire County councils have outlined plans to introduce a small zero-emission zone in the city centre by the end of this year, as well as a zone coming in either 2021 or 2022, covering a larger area of the city. The ‘red’ ZEZ will see vehicles that are not zero emission charged £10 per day from late 2020, rising to £20 per day four years later, between 7am-7pm. The larger ‘green’ low-emission zone consultation has not yet launched, but would introduce charges for non-Euro6 diesel and non-Euro4 petrol in a much larger area of the city.