UK plans licence rule change to incentivise van drivers switch to cleaner fuel

28 July 2017 15:47 Source:ICIS News

LONDON (ICIS)--The UK's Department for Transport and its Office for Low Emission Vehicles said on Friday that the government has announced changes to driver licensing rules that will ease the transition for van drivers to switch to electric vehicles.

Van drivers will be able to use heavier electric or gas-powered vehicles without applying for a new licence in a bid to improve air quality across the UK.

This initiative is a move to reach the government’s aim for practically all vans and cars in the UK to have zero emissions by 2050.

“Currently, a motorist with an ordinary category B licence for a car can drive a van weighing up to 3,500kg. Cleaner vans, especially those powered by electricity from batteries, are generally heavier than conventional diesel vans because of the battery they carry. This reduces the amount of goods they can carry or means van drivers have to apply for a category C licence with the associated costs and medical report requirements,” the statement said.

“Now the Department for Transport has published plans to allow motorists to drive vans weighing up to 4,250kg if they are powered by electricity, natural gas, LPG or hydrogen,” it added.

“Vans have become essential to our economy and are vital for our builders, small businesses and delivery drivers. We have more of them on our roads than ever before. That’s a good sign for the economy, but our challenge is to try to tackle their impact on air quality,” Jesse Norman, Transport Minister said.

The minister added that the government was keen to make it easier for businesses to use cleaner vehicles, with traffic from light goods vehicles - which are typically diesel powered - rising significantly in the past 20 years.

The UK government confirmed it will ban the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2040, as well as introducing a £255m fund for implementing plans to tackle air pollution, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Areas (Defra) said earlier in the week.  

By Sarah Trinder