New plans have been revealed to extend the Congestion Tax discounts so it includes light commercial vehicles. This at first glance is great news as the money saved on the congestion charge, can be used for paying the commercial vehicle insurance. However, the current level of emissions of 100g/km that is required to be included is now being reduced to 75g/km.
At the moment, there are no light commercial vehicles that have a diesel engine that produce emissions this low. Even the ECOnetic by Ford, running at its best still emits 87g/km. There is actually only one vehicle that complies with this new regulation and that is the Toyota Prius Plug in Hybrid which emits 49g/km. All vehicles that are battery powered are already exempt and this won’t change if the plans are implemented. Those who register their vehicles for exemption before th 1st of July next year will be safe from paying the daily charge for two years. After this if the vehicle exceed more than 75g/km then the daily charge will apply.
The new plan comes in a bid to raise some money. This is because Transport for London discovered that they lost £1.5 million in potential tax in 2011. To gain this money back, they will simply lower the threshold making it harder to fall in line with the regulations.
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association are very happy that the discount will be applied to vans but they also feel the level is being set too low in order to generate more money.
John Lewis is the chief executive at the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association and he has said, “Adopting a technology neutral stance will bring the Congestion Charge in line with the Plug in Car Grant and other fiscal incentives like Benefit-in-Kind Tax.
“A technology neutral approach is something we have been lobbying on for some time, in addition to the need to offer van operators a low-carbon incentive.
“Fleet operators at least have some warning this time, but they should remember that a vehicle that qualifies for 100 per cent discount could lose it at any stage. This is particularly important when reviewing fleet policies and operational costs. You should also bear in mind that the discount is not automatically transferable if the vehicle is sold.”