New vehicle tax change to help white van man go green

Less than one in every 200 vans bought in 2016/17 was an ultra-low emission model

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The UK Government is proposing to scrap the road tax for white van drivers to go green.

It has launched a consultation on reforms to the vehicle excise duty (VED), currently charged at a flat rate of £250, to make it more affordable for the uptake of low emission vans.

Less than one in every 200 vans bought in 2016/17 was said to be an ultra-low emission model.

The latest proposal could mean tax for white van drivers would be similar to those paid by car owners, who pay a one-off tax depending on the emissions produced.

An annual flat rate charge of £140 is then applied for all cars, except zero emission vehicles which pay nothing – and a £310 supplement for cars with a list price of more than £40,000.

A separate call for evidence is looking at whether the reduced duty rate for red diesel is holding back the use of cleaner fuels by non-road vehicles and machinery in towns and cities – for example cranes or generators used on construction sites.

Red diesel, which accounts for 15% of all diesel use in the UK, currently benefits from a reduced rate of 11.14p per litre compared to the standard charge of 57.95p per litre.

The call for evidence excludes red diesel used for agricultural purposes and fishing vessels.

The proposals are aimed at improving air quality across the UK and forms part of the government’s 25-Year Environment Plan.

Robert Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury said: “We want to help ‘white van man’ to go green. We appreciate that buying a new van is a major investment for small businessmen and women and want to help make environmentally friendly choices more affordable.

“Public health is at risk due to the use of red diesel in towns and cities. So we are looking at hoe we can level the playing field on red diesel and exploring how we can encourage users to ditch it.”