HGVs excluded from 2040 diesel ban, but could see changes to road user levy

HGVs are not included in the 2040 new diesel vehicle ban, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has confirmed, but has said it intends to include them in the future.

Regarding the government’s air quality improvement plan released today (26 July), a Defra spokesman told Freight in the City: “For now it just includes cars and panel vans, but it is our intention to get to a point where we can include all new diesel vehicles in that ban.

“It’s our ambition that all new vehicles will be zero-emission by 2040.”

However the new air quality plan, which includes a ban on conventional petrol but not hybrids, does hint at future revisions to the HGV Road User Levy.

It stated: “The government will consider changes to the HGV Road User Levy so that it incentivises improved environmental performance, including air quality and carbon emissions.”

The document also suggests the government will consider the “appropriate tax treatment for diesel vehicles” ahead of this year’s autumn budget, which may go some way towards funding air quality improvement.

Instead of making any new provisions for tackling poor air quality, the government said funding would come from “changes to tax treatment for new diesel vehicles, or through reprioritisation within existing departmental budgets”.

Responses to a consultation into the draft air quality plan, released in May, favoured the idea of a scrappage scheme for all diesel vehicles.

However the government’s new plan claims such a scheme would be bad value for money for taxpayers.

It added that it would not proceed with a scrappage programme – something the industry has called for – unless it could find a way of doing so that was able to target those most in need of help, that was fair to the tax payer, and not open to fraud or abuse.