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Government launches emissions consultation

The latest policy document from the Department for Transport, entitled ‘Road vehicles: Improving air quality and safety’ is certainly worth a read. It sets out a number of changes to the way vehicles are regulated.

At this stage, those new regulations are only in draft form. The Government is consulting on the changes before putting them to Parliament in April.

New fuel economy and emissions figures

The regulations that would affect the largest number of drivers are all about the figures for fuel economy and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that you see when you look for a new car, whether online or in a showroom.

As of 1st January 2019, manufacturers would have to display fuel economy figures from the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), rather than the old ‘New European Driving Cycle’. The WLTP was introduced last year to more accurately measure the vehicle’s performance in real life.

For CO2 emissions, manufacturers will have to use WLTP figures from 6th April 2020 – in line with the changeover for Vehicle Excise Duty and Company Car Tax purposes that was announced in the Autumn Budget.

A new law against ‘defeat devices’

Another of the proposals focuses on the ‘defeat devices’ that were behind the 2015 ‘dieselgate’ scandal. Some manufacturers were found to be using these devices to artificially lower their vehicles’ emissions during tests.

As a result, the Government plans to introduce a specific offence of ‘supplying a vehicle fitted with a defeat device’. In this consultation, the Government is asking whether that offence should be a civil or criminal one, and what size the fine for committing it should be.

Safety requirements

As well as dealing with emissions and fuel economy, the document also covers some aspects of vehicle safety.

For example, the Government is proposing to require more HGVs and coaches to be fitted with Lane Departure Warning Systems and Advanced Emergency Braking Systems. Currently only those weighing more than 8 tonnes must have them; these regulations would extend that to any over 3.5 tonnes.

It’s worth reading the full document to get to grips with the detail of all the Government’s plans.

Have your say

The consultation on these draft regulations is open until 11:45pm on Friday, 2nd March. You can respond online – and find details of how to respond by post – here. Don’t miss the chance to have your views heard.

The crackdown on defeat devices and the switch to WLTP for measuring fuel economy and emissions. Both policies will ensure that customers have more accurate information about the cars they buy, while also pushing manufacturers to develop cleaner, greener vehicles.

Towards zero net emissions

LeasePlan is already leading the way on sustainability, and we have set ourselves the goal of reducing net emissions from our whole fleet to zero by 2030. We are transitioning all of our employee fleet to electric vehicles by 2021 and are helping our customers to reduce their emissions too.

We’ve recently published a series of white papers on sustainable mobility, offering practical advice to fleet managers on how to prepare for what’s next. LeasePlan has also launched a new pilot programme to help companies make the switch to electric vehicles. Speak to your LeasePlan Account Manager to find out more – alternatively get in touch with a member of our New Business Team who will be happy to help.


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