Tag Archive | "LEGISLATION"

TYPE APPROVAL FEEDBACK WELCOMED BY IAAF

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TYPE APPROVAL FEEDBACK WELCOMED BY IAAF


The IAAF has welcomed feedback from members on the next tranche of type approval legislation.

The IAAFs Wendy Williamson at a previous conference

This legislation, known as 2018/858 covers areas including connected vehicle telemetry, and among the text that the IAAF is campaigning for is the provision of a standard diagnostic port. Currently, some VMs want to run all updates and diagnostics ‘over the air’, thus shutting out anyone other than them from the vehicle. The IAAF argues that this is bad for competition and anti-consumer choice.

Although Britain has left the EU, it is expected that it will continue to mirror legislation as selling vehicles into the EU – or even driving UK registered vehicles in the Continent would become difficult if a different standard is adopted.

 

 

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MOT EXTENSION TO END FROM AUGUST FIRST

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MOT EXTENSION TO END FROM AUGUST FIRST


Mandatory MOT testing is to be reintroduced from 1 August 2020 as restrictions are slowly lifted, it has been announced by the DfT.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, drivers were granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing in March to help slow the spread of the virus. However, as restrictions are eased when safe to do so, all drivers whose car, motorcycle or van is due for an MOT test from 1 August will be required to get a test certificate to continue driving their vehicle.

MOT tests are important for road safety and ensure that vehicle parts, including tyres, seat belts, brakes, lights and exhausts, are in proper working order.

Drivers with an MOT due date before 1 August will still receive a six-month exemption from testing. However, all vehicles must continue to be properly maintained and kept in a roadworthy condition, and people are able to voluntarily get their MOT sooner should they wish, even if they are exempt from the legal requirement. Motorists can be prosecuted for driving an unsafe vehicle.

READ: GOVERNMENT CONSULTING ON END OF MOT EXTENSION

Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “As people return to our roads, it is vital that motorists are able to keep their vehicles safe. That’s why as restrictions are eased, from 1 August MOT testing will again become mandatory.

“Garages across the country are open and I urge drivers who are due for their MOT to book a test as soon they can.”

Only some garages remained open to conduct essential services during the coronavirus outbreak, but now over 90% are open across the country. Testing capacity has already reached 70% of normal levels and is steadily increasing.

READ: 12 MONTH MOT EXTENSION ANNOUNCED AS NORTHERN IRELAND MOT CHAOS CONTINUES

While exemptions are still available for vehicle owners with an MOT due date before 1 August, it is vital that drivers still take their vehicle to be checked if they notice something is wrong in the same way that they usually would.

If drivers are vulnerable or self-isolating they should contact their local garage as many are offering pick-up and drop-off services, so drivers can get their car checked without having to visit a garage.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has also issued guidance to all MOT testers about safely conducting tests in line with the latest Government advice.

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AFTERMARKET VICTORY OVER VM MARKET RESTRICTION CLAIMS

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AFTERMARKET VICTORY OVER VM MARKET RESTRICTION CLAIMS


A major victory for the tuning parts and accessories aftermarket has been secured at a court in Germany.

Back in November 2013, tuning parts trade body VDAT (Verband der Automobiltuner) filed a lawsuit in Germany against Porsche after the manufacturer ordered that vehicles, accessories and spare parts should not be supplied to the tuning industry. It also stated that the tuning industry should not be able to provide Porsche owners aftermarket parts that would replace or augment the original items.

READ: HOW THE DVSA DECIDE WHAT STAYS ON THE MARKET

In addition to the tuning companies, VDAT reports that Porsche also tried to prohibit sales of cars and parts to anyone who was remotely associated to a performance aftermarket business – even if the car ordered was only

Stuttgart regional court

intended to be a regular means of transport.

In the last month, a judgement by the Oberlandesgericht (Higher Regional Court) in Stuttgart ruled that Porsche’s attempt to impose these restrictions was a violation of the German and European antitrust law. The court decided that VDAT’s protest was entirely justified and consequently, the ruling was made in favour of the association who consequently won the case outright.

READ: High Court dismisses key parts of anti-PAS 125 claims


David Power, director of UK trade body PAAA (Performance Automotive Aftermarket Association),  said: “Had Porsche’s claim been upheld it would have had serious implications for the sustainability and ultimately the survival of the performance tuning industry as a whole.

“Working alongside VDAT’s committee, the PAAA is rightly proud to have had input into this industry-threatening legal battle. It is an outstanding example of the important role the PAAA plays in these current times, when the pressures and changes within the automotive industry have never been more apparent.”

Since the ruling, Porsche has taken up its option to appeal.

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A BUDGET FOR OUR TIME?

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A BUDGET FOR OUR TIME?


Politics aside, it takes a brave man to become Chancellor of the Exchequer and then, within 27 days, write and present a budget at a time of global crisis brought on by the smallest of enemies, a virus.

But present Rishi Sunak did and with gusto too. Only time will tell whether or not his speech goes down in history as one that ‘got things done’ – to reuse the phrase that he repeated some 26 times – or is just another where brave claims made rot in the cupboard.

Call for national unity

Sunak rose to the dispatch box and went straight for the topic that’s on everyone’s mind at present – coronavirus and how the government plans to tackle it. Touching on what everyone is hoping, that the outbreak is a serious, but temporary, disruption to the economy.

The Chancellor commented, “for a period it’s going to be tough” and announced a series of “temporary, timely and targeted” responses to support those who cannot work while helping businesses that are struggling through no fault of their own. The measures announced follow on from the Bank of England’s ‘surprise’ action in the morning – namely an immediate 0.5% cut in interest rates from 0.75% to 0.25% and billions of pounds of extra lending with ‘additional incentives’ to help banks support otherwise healthy SMEs.

Back to the budget, Sunak announced a three-point plan at a cost of £7bn. The first granted the NHS whatever resources it needs to cope with the virus, irrespective of cost.

Next, aside from those absent from work who will receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from day one, those who self-isolate regardless of showing any symptoms are to get the same. The self-employed eligible to claim Contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be able to claim from day one too.

The last element involves enhanced support for businesses through the full refund to SMEs with fewer than 250 workers of SSP for 14 days; HMRC scaling up its Time to Pay scheme for firms in trouble following the outbreak; and a new, temporary, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme with £1bn in funding which can offer loans of up to  £1.2m to SMEs facing difficulties.

SMEs in the retail, leisure or hospitality sectors that have premises with rateable values below £51,000 will welcome the suspension of business rates for one year. And any business currently eligible for small business rates relief will be provided with a £3,000 cash grant.

The state of the economy

With the headline material announced, the Chancellor turned to the state of the UK economy and other measures.

It’s entirely clear that even before the outbreak of coronavirus that the world has been slowing down. The Chancellor’s figures don’t include the effects of coronavirus, but GDP growth is predicted to stand at 1.1% in 2020 and 1.8% in 2021, then 1.5%, 1.3%, and 1.4% in 2024. Sunak announced an extra £175bn of capital investment over the next five years, which the Office for Budget Responsibility expects to mean that another 500,000 will be in work. Inflation is predicted to rise to 1.4% in 2020 and 1.8% next year.

Of course, it’s natural to ask with all of the announced spending where the money is coming from to pay for it? The answer is that part will come from tax changes, but a sizeable amount will follow from increased borrowing – which had been previously highlighted. In summary, borrowing is likely (OBR figures) to rise to 2.1% of GDP in 2019-20, 2.4% in 2020-21, 2.8% in 2021-22 and 2.5% by 2022-23.

In terms of the now annual rise in the National Living Wage (NLW), that will increase by 6.2% from 6 April. However, the Chancellor went further and announced that the Low Pay Commission has been given a revised remit to ensure that NLW reaches 66% of median earnings – more than £10.50 an hour by 2024. It’s worth pointing out that, according to Incomes Data Research, when the NLW was launched in 2016 it was designed to pay a rate that matched 60% of median earnings. While this increase will help the low paid it will increase employer costs; the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group is worried that this could lead to ‘false self-employment’ or fewer workers being hired.

Another allied change relates to the National Insurance threshold which will rise from 6 April to £9500 from £8632. The Chancellor expects this rise to give workers an extra £100 a year. However, the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, is concerned that this doesn’t help those below the new threshold and that further, Universal Credit recipients will lose £63 of the £100.

For the self-employed who work as contractors there was little cheer because, despite numerous calls from campaigners, Sunak refused to delay the tightening up of IR35 legislation. And so, the self-employed who work for a company as if they are an employee could potentially end up paying the same level of tax that permanent staff members pay, but without the benefits.

Numerous changes

Sunak offered a number of ‘populist’ tax changes, chief of which was the removal of the so-called “tampon tax” – from January 2021 the UK will no longer charge 5% VAT on women’s sanitary products.

The planned rises in spirits, beer, wine and cider have all been postponed as has the much-vaunted increase in fuel duty. Tobacco taxes, however, will continue to rise by 2% above the rate of retail price inflation. And to help pubs stay afloat, the proposed business rates discount of £1000 per year has – for one year only – been increased to £5000. At the same time, the government is to give £1m to support the Scottish food and drink sector to promote itself worldwide.

For business, the Chancellor commented that the country needs “a thriving private sector” and to this end he announced £130m of funding to provide start-up business loans, £200m for the “British business bank to invest in scale-ups”, £200m for life sciences and £5bn in new export loans. And with a nod to the government’s newly found favour in the regions, dedicated trade envoys to represent the North, the Midlands, Wales and the West of England will be placed in UK embassies.

Following on from the government’s manifesto pledge to review the efficacy of Entrepreneurs’ relief, Sunak announced that it’s to be restricted so that it offers a lifetime allowance of just £1m compared to £10m previously. As he explained, the relief apparently does little to incentivise the creation of businesses, mostly ends up going to a comparatively small number of individuals and costs the government some £2bn a year. The predicted savings will be redirected to business via an increase in the Research and Development Expenditure credit (RDEC) from 12 to 13%, a rise in the Structures and Buildings Allowance (which relieves the construction costs for new structures and buildings) from 2 to 3%, and an increase in the Employers Allowance (which reduces an employers’ secondary Class 1 National Insurance costs) to £4000.

On top of that is an increase in investment in R&D from the planned £18bn to £22bn as more of the funding – £400m – is spread around the regions.

It should be noted that RDEC change only helps larger firms; SMEs use a different scheme which only saw a delay of one year to April 2021 on a cap on tax credits payable; there was no rise in its allowance.

Other areas

On environmental issues, the Chancellor announced changes to how the issue of pollution is tackled, notably, from April 2022 the levy on electricity will be frozen while that placed on gas will rise; a new Plastic Packaging Tax of £200 per tonne will be applied to plastic packaging where less than 30% recycled plastic content is used; and the use of red diesel will be restricted to agriculture, rail and domestic heating and fishing. Those in construction, civil engineering and related trades, plant and equipment hire, transport, quarrying and mining and leisure will lose out.

There’s to be money for greener and cleaner transport options to make it less expensive to buy lower emission vans and cars as well as pay for more rapid charging hubs. And there’s to be £120m for defences damaged in recent floods, £200m to local communities to help areas flooded repeatedly and £5.2bn for new flood defences.

These green changes will be partly paid for by the increase in Air Passenger Duty that will, from 1 April, see long-haul economy tickets rise by £2 to £80, and premium cabin fares rise by £4 to £176.

The regional governments are to be offered more funding – £640m extra for Scotland, £360m for Wales, and Northern Ireland will see £310m.

Other changes to infrastructure will involve gigabit broadband being rolled out nationwide at a cost of £5bn, and £510m being spent on creating a shared 4G network so that 95% of UK will be covered. Roads and rail will see spending too; Sunak noted that there would be “over £27bn of tarmac” through a strategic fund for roads and motorways providing “over 20 connections to ports and airports, over 100 junctions, 4,000 miles of road” alongside £2.5bn over five years to fix potholes. Some might question how this fits in with the government’s green credentials.

Housing saw a 1% cut in interest rates that apply to lending for social housing and there’s to be £1.1bn from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to build 70,000 new homes, £650m to help rough sleepers with 6000 new places, and a new stamp duty surcharge of 2% on non UK residents from 2021. And for those in buildings covered in unsafe combustible cladding, there’s £1bn for its removal from structures over 18m in height, whether publicly or privately owned.

To ease the pressure on NHS funding the planned cut to Corporation Tax has been shelved – it remains at 19% which, Sunak reiterated is the “lowest rate in the G20.” There’s also extra funding for HMRC to reel in an expected £4.4bn in additional revenue. And to get consultants and GPs working more, the pensions taper threshold has been increased by £90,000 to £200,000 to take the majority out of a tax trap; workers in other sectors will benefit if they earn under £200,000.

Businesses caught by the Making Tax Digital (MTD) regime for VAT will welcome the Chancellor’s plans to evaluate MTD’s introduction before (if) it’s rolled out further. According to the Chartered Institute of Taxation, MTD hasn’t reduced errors, reduced costs or greatly improved productivity.

For importers, the introduction of ‘postponed accounting’ means that those who are registered for VAT will account for import VAT as an entry in the VAT return, rather than paying it at the time of import or by using a monthly deferral account; this will aid their cashflow significantly.

And finally, publishers will be pleased that the government is to remove VAT on digital books, magazines and manuals from 1 December. However, it should be pointed out that the EU changed the rules regarding this back in October 2018.

Summary

So, the Chancellor has combined election pledges with pragmatism in helping the country fight coronavirus. The question is – is the government be storing up economic problems for the future or is it hedging on the basis of interest rates will be low for some time? One thing is certain, the plan to place treasury offices around the country is noble, but will 22,000 civil servants all want to move out of London?

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BREAKING: KLARIUS CASE THROWN OUT OF COURT

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BREAKING: KLARIUS CASE THROWN OUT OF COURT


A significant legal case has been thrown out of court.

Klarius’ Cheadle site

Five directors of Staffordshire-based Klarius had been due to stand trial on charges of fraud at Manchester Crown Court, but it is understood by CAT that the judge did not find information provided admissible, apparently referring to a ‘shambolic failure’ in what was presented and found there was no case to answer.

The charges related to historic claims of ‘knowingly’ selling non type-approved emissions products.

UPDATE: KLARIUS ISSUE STATEMENT

READ: KLARIUS DIRECTORS FACE COURT

READ: BREAKING: STATEMENT ISSUED BY KLARIUS DIRECTORS

UPDATE:  Clarification

On December 3rd as part of our coverage of the emissions standards trial, we linked to a full and unabridged copy of Klarius’ statement following the trial’s collapse. The statement contained the words: “In his ruling the Judge referred to individuals from two competitor companies who sought to make commercial gain from the situation”. While the judge did refer to individuals from two competitors in his ruling, there was no suggestion explicit or implied that they sought any commercial gain. We hope this clarifies the issue.  

 

 

 

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SMPE GETS NEW ISO CERTIFICATE

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SMPE GETS NEW ISO CERTIFICATE


Standard Motor Products Europe (SMPE), one of the UK’s largest independently owned  suppliers, has achieved the management system standard ISO14001:2015. 

The standard, which is in addition to the company’s ISO:9001 certification, applies to both its Nottingham and Poland facility. The new standard provides SMPE with an environmental management system framework in order to manage its environmental responsibilities in a systematic manner, contributing to greener sustainability, covering criteria including recycling, lower carbon footprint and waste reduction.

READ: New standard fixes child seat fitting fears

The updated 2015 standard includes the latest requirements relating to the context of the organisation, leadership, strategic environmental management, risk and opportunities, life-cycle perspective, performance evaluation and auditing.

Richard Morley, SMPE Commercial Director, said: “This achievement demonstrates both our professionalism and reliability as a company and signals to new and existing customers that SMPE is a perfect partner to do business with”. 

SMPE UK building

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ACCESSORY SHOPS DEBATE GREEN EV PLATES

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ACCESSORY SHOPS DEBATE GREEN EV PLATES


Proposals for electric cars to wear green number plates could bring additional revenue for plate makers, but are unlikely to ever come into effect, according to several accessory shop representatives. The Department for Transport has begun consulting on plans to make electric cars ‘even greener’ with the introduction of legally mandated coloured number plates. It claims that such a move would ‘raise awareness of the increasing number of zero tailpipe emission vehicles on UK roads, help their drivers to benefit more easily from local incentives like free or cheaper parking and encourage greater uptake of new vehicle technology’. 

But how prepared are accessory shops and plate makers to produce the literally green units? Those CAT spoke to expressed surprise upon hearing the government’s plans. 

Jon Rogers at Wrexham Motoring Supplies said he couldn’t see a good reason for such a scheme to be introduced. “Every electric car owner will need to buy new number plates,” he said, suggesting the plans could be a ‘DVLA money-making scheme’. Further confusing things, he argued, is the fact that most bus lane and car park cameras operate using ANPR technology, negating the need for any sort of different-coloured plate. 

 

As regards the plan’s potential impact on number plate vendors, Rogers said: “The colouring method would dictate cost. If it’s just one section of the plate that needs changing, it wouldn’t cost too much.” WMS’s method of plate production means that a different colour could be relatively easily added, but shops using other means of production could see their overheads significantly increased. However, he noted that customary delays to relatively radical transportation reform means he ‘wouldn’t worry about this for another year’.

READ: Posh plate sales steady as new car demand slumps

Dean Bayley at Leicester’s Epic Accessories was similarly confused. “I don’t know what the benefit is,” he said, asking: “will EVs being able to drive in bus lanes help traffic flow?” He also drew attention to the potential for increased cost, on both the consumer and supplier sides, and suggested that drivers of non-electric vehicles could resent any special treatment afforded to EV drivers. 

Bayley also noted that new number plate laws, first announced in April 2018, are still yet to be implemented. The BS AU 145e standards are set to be introduced as a means of improving the legibility, durability and conformity of all British number plates, but have faced numerous setbacks, prompting Bayley to argue that the DfT is ‘not prioritising what it should have done a year and a half ago’. He added: “There’s that much up in the air – we don’t know if we’re coming or going.” 

READ: GOV. ANNOUNCES INCREASE IN FUNDING FOR EV CHARGING

So first impressions of the radical proposals are, at least from the aftermarket, skeptical. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the green plates ‘are a really positive and exciting way to help everyone recognise the increasing number of electric vehicles on our roads,’ and it seems that mere differentiation is the prevailing motive. Any concerns regarding cost or feasibility appears, at least for now, to come second to disbelief that such a scheme could even be implemented. 

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GEA AGREES TO APPROVE ONLY ‘CONNECTED’ MOT EQUIPMENT

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GEA AGREES TO APPROVE ONLY ‘CONNECTED’ MOT EQUIPMENT


DVSA has made an agreement with the GEA that no new models of diesel smoke meter, exhaust gas analysers or decelerometers would be approved for use in MOT centres unless they can connect to the testing service.

This follows from a similar agreement between the two organisations last month that roller brake testers for classes 4,5 and 7 would only be approved if they connected to the new service.

From 1 October, new MOT centres will need a connected roller brake tester to receive approval and all garages will only be able to buy connectable roller brake testers as replacements. The same rules will apply to smoke meters, gas analysers and decelerometers, although a date to switch has not yet been announced.

READ: MOT SRIKE ACTION LIKELY IN NORTHERN IRELAND 

Dave Garratt, GEA Chief Exec said:  “The main concern for GEA members is to improve the quality of MOT equipment and remove any possibility of human error in the reporting procedure. Connecting MOT test equipment is a very logical step for us as it removes any “miss keying” by the operator and speeds up the process”.

“Starting by connecting brake testers makes good sense and since the introduction of Automated Test Lanes (ATLs) most may already be connectable”.

“Connecting all types of processor-based equipment is possible and as connectivity is applied across the whole test bay it will add increasing value for the motorist by reducing error and benefit the garage by speeding up the test”.

Chris Price, DVSA Head of MOT Policy said: “DVSA’s priority is to help everyone keep their vehicle safe to drive. We’re bringing in connected equipment to modernise testing in MOT garages and reduce the potential for mistakes”

MOT equipment will communicate directly with centre

“It will make testing quicker, more accurate and give motorists greater confidence in the quality of testing. Garages already using this equipment have seen benefits to their business.”

 

 

 

 

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DVSA BOSS: WHAT WE’VE LEARNT FROM MOT CHANGES

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DVSA BOSS: WHAT WE’VE LEARNT FROM MOT CHANGES


In a blog post, Neil Barlow, DVSA’s Head of MOT Policy has reflected on the changes to the test, implemented in May.

Writing for authorised examiners, he noted: “Before 20 May, the training environment we set up to help you get used to the changes was used by over 12,000 testers. Your feedback showed that most of you found this useful, so we’ll look at providing a similar training environment again for any large changes in the future.”

Barlow observed that testers were taking longer to record defects, though this was ‘hardly surprising’ given the new structure. He also noted that the wording, which had been criticised by a number of testers for being technically or grammatically ambiguous, was being updated.

On a slightly different subject, Barlow wrote how the Agency was reviewing the ‘risk rating’ for testing centres. This will look at a number of factors and the station will be logged under a ‘traffic light’ scheme accordingly. “We’ll do some calculations based around testers and this will be pulled together to form an overall score for the garage. We’re working hard to make sure that this information is clear and open to those that need it” concluded Barlow.

Mixed responses for 4-1-1 proposition

Read Barlow’s full blog post here

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DIESEL VEHICLES TO BE BANNED IN GERMAN CITIES

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DIESEL VEHICLES TO BE BANNED IN GERMAN CITIES


German cities will be allowed to ban older diesels from entering, following a court ruling. Dusseldorf and the car-building city of Stuttgart can now force pre-Euro IV vehicles off the road in a case brought by environmental pressure group Deutche Umwelthilfe (DUH).

The Federal Government has opposed the move, leading commentators to criticise how close it is to the domestic car industry. The decision from the Federal Administrative Court comes after a legal challenge to the case was mounted by German states.

Presiding Judge Andreas Korbmacher wanted to deliberate the issue ‘very thoroughly’ and delayed reaching a verdict for several days.

Analysts believe that the ruling will set a precedent across other cities in Europe, though many French cities already have ‘CritAir’ that restrict pre-Euro IV vehicles and the UK has various Low Emission zones, which vary in size and restriction, but have a similar aim to the French system.

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