UK Government announces consultation on reducing VED rates for cleanest vans
In his Spring Statement to the House of Commons, the UK Chancellor Philip Hammond said the UK government will “help the Great British White Van driver go green with a consultation on reduced Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rates for the cleanest vans”.
The relevant text from the Chancellor’s statement reads: “This government is determined that our generation should leave the natural environment in a better state than we found it.
“And improve the quality of the air we breathe.
“So we will publish a call for evidence on whether the use of non-agricultural red diesel tax relief contributes to poor air quality in urban areas.
“And following our successful intervention to incentivise green taxis, we’ll help the Great British White Van driver go green with a consultation on reduced VED rates for the cleanest vans.”
This was seen as a step in the right direction by environmental campaigners – but some felt that the Chancellor could have gone further.
For example, Andrea Lee, senior clean air campaigner at ClientEarth, said: “Reducing duty on the cleanest vans is a welcome move, but the Chancellor should be getting on with it now, not launching yet another consultation. The government knows that it needs to encourage cleaner forms of transport in order to clean up illegal and harmful pollution.
“If he was serious, the Chancellor would have found money to help British industries develop cleaner van technologies and give people and business more options to reduce their emissions.”
UPDATE ON 15 MARCH
The Freight Transport Association (FTA ) has also issued a statement on the Spring Statement – in which it said that its members will be “interested but concerned” to read about the VED proposals.
The FTA’s Head of UK Policy, Christopher Snelling, said: “The announcement of a consultation on taxation rates for the least polluting vans is an encouraging move, but one which must not penalise those whose businesses rely on the vehicles they own.
“Changing vehicles is a long-term business plan, not something which can be implemented overnight. Government needs to provide clear guidance for operators on how the changes can be made, with minimal impact on business planning processes and overheads, to ensure that logistics companies can continue to offer a competitive, effective service to customers.”