Van drivers are
set to be given the right to use heavier vehicles if they are electric or
gas-powered, in measures that will help improve air quality in towns and cities
across the country.
Alongside publication of the ‘UK Plan
for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations’, the government has
published a separate consultation that proposes:
- Increasing the weight limit of
alternatively-fuelled vans that can be driven on a category B driving licence
in the UK
- Exempting certain alternatively-fuelled vans
from goods vehicle Operator Licensing requirements in Britain
- Introducing roadworthiness testing for electric
The government said: “Vans spend much of their time
completing driving routes around our towns and cities and over 96% of them are
diesel powered. The UK government wants to support the continued contribution of
vans to the economy whilst also reducing their environmental impact. One way of
achieving this is to encourage the uptake of cleaner fuels in our delivery
driving licence changes would allow category B (car and van) licence holders to
drive a slightly heavier vehicle, if it was powered by a low emission
technology, by offsetting the additional weight of the powertrain. That, said the
Department for Transport, would
help compensate for lost payload capacity due to the added weight and size of
alternative fuel technologies.
The threshold for moving from a
category B (car and van) licence to a category C1 (lighter goods vehicle)
licence is currently 3,500kg maximum authorised mass. But the government is
proposing increasing that to 4,250kg.
The Government is also consulting on a similar exemption
from Operator Licensing requirements for alternatively-fuelled vans used for
own account haulage. That would help operators to avoid becoming subject to the
full operator licensing regime if they invested in cleaner but slightly heavier
vans up to 4,250kg.
Simultaneously, the government is proposing to correct a
regulatory anomaly, which means that electric vans are currently exempt from
MoT testing. The consultation runs until 18 October.
The consultation on ‘Category B Driving Licence Derogation for
Alternatively-Fuelled Commercial Vehicles’ is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/category-b-driving-licence-derogation-for-alternatively-fuelled-commercial-vehicles