PMQs: PM says Clean Air Zone is ‘unworkable’
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In 2022, countless driving law changes were introduced including Highway Code rules, new Clean Air Zones and greater power for councils. New road rules will continue to be launched this year as well, with a handful being rolled out this January, with drivers being warned of their impact.
Clean Air Zones
Drivers in and around Tyneside – Newcastle and Gateshead – will soon deal with a new Clean Air Zone, as local authorities look to slash pollution rates.
The Clean Air Zone was formally launched in November 2022, but motorists were given a “grace period” with charges set to begin after January 30, 2023.
Charges for non-compliant taxis, buses, coaches and HGVs will begin in January, while costs for vans and light goods vehicles will be delayed until July 2023.
This is being done to allow additional time for owners to upgrade due to national and global vehicle supply issues.
Non-compliant lorries, buses and coaches will be hit with £50-a-day tolls, while the worst polluting vans and taxis will be charged £12.50 per day.
Petrol vans and taxis that meet Euro 4 standards are exempt, as are Euro 6 diesels, with the council urging drivers to ensure they know what their vehicle is so they don’t end up with unnecessary fines.
All HGVs, buses and coaches must be of Euro 6 standard to avoid the toll, while private cars and any zero emission vehicles won’t be charged.
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London private hire vehicles
From today, January 1, all private hire vehicles licensed for the first time in London will be required to be zero emission capable.
The step change this will create is part of the bold action Mayor Sadiq Khan is taking to clean up the Capital’s filthy air and help tackle the climate emergency.
This is central to TfL’s role as a strong, green heartbeat for London, supporting progress towards the Mayor’s ambition for a net zero-carbon city by 2030.
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The previous requirement that came into force at the start of 2020 was that all vehicles under 18 months old and licensed for the first time had to be zero emission capable.
This has led to 25 percent of all private hire vehicles now picking up passengers in London meeting these game-changing standards, with a number of the larger operators committing to having an all-electric fleet by 2025.
Helen Chapman, TfL’s Director of Licensing and Regulation, said: “Drivers will benefit from London’s extensive charging network when needing somewhere to plug in, with more than 11,000 points across the city and close to 1,000 of those allowing a top-up in 30 minutes or less.
“The switch to electric will also mean cheaper fuel costs when compared with petrol or diesel.”
Driving in Europe
Since May 2022, Britons living in Spain have been banned from using their UK driving licences on Spanish roads, much to the dismay of expats.
In the latest update to the Brits in Spain Facebook page, Hugh Elliott, Ambassador of the UK to Spain, said the agreement between British and Spanish authorities was done, with “technical wording” still being resolved.
He said that both sides would continue to work together to get the agreement signed, adding that he would share more information on the consulate’s page as soon as he knew it.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced a £110 million scheme to help those being affected by the expansion of the ULEZ in 2023.
The scheme, which will be available from January 30, 2023, is open to Londoners who receive benefits or small businesses and charities registered in the Capital.
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