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Daily news round upBack


London Assembly Environment Committee calls for London low-emissions zone to be widened and brought forward

The London Assembly Environment Committee is calling for Transport for London and mayor Boris Johnson to introduce the proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone sooner than 2020.

The public consultation on the scheme ended last month and TfL said it is currently analysing responses and will then make a recommendation to the mayor. Should the ULEZ proposal go ahead, it would be introduced in September 2020.

Under the zone’s proposal, all vehicles would have to meet new emissions standards that would be in place at all times, with the hope of the ULEZ halving emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM10) from exhausts.

However, the LAEC believes the plans for the zone are too little, too late. It has suggested the scheme should be implemented sooner than 2020 with the non-compliance charge of £12.50 per day increasing over the zone’s first few years.

The other recommendations made by the group are:

  • Discussions with boroughs on the costs, benefits and practicalities of a wider ULEZ should be progressed, with a view to widening the ULEZ beyond the Congestion Charge Zone as soon as possible.
  • The standards of the ULEZ must be kept under review, and should be tightened to drive the uptake of lower-emissions vehicles as they become more widely available.

The LARC said the mayor, London boroughs and the Government should establish how the city could achieve full compliance with air pollution limits by 2020.



Former Chevrolet boss Mark Terry is interim MD of Motor Codes

Motor Codes has appointed former Chevrolet UK and Ireland director Mark Terry (pictured) as its interim managing director.

Terry has held senior positions in the UK and internationally. He has served on the Motor Codes’ board since 2010 and joins Motor Codes to manage the business and identify new commercial opportunities as the organisation looks to recruit a permanent appointee.

Mike Hawes, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ chief executive and a Motor Codes’ board member, said: “Mark has a first class reputation and a track record of delivering growth to businesses. His knowledge and experience of Motor Codes and the issues surrounding the sector from his time as a board member will be invaluable. Industry and consumers can expect him to bring vigour and strong leadership to Motor Codes during his tenure”.

Since graduating in Motor Vehicle Engineering from Bucks University in 1987 Terry has worked exclusively in the motor industry including roles with Saab GB and as GM’s business development manager in Singapore. More recently he was Chevrolet’s director in the UK.

Terry said: “I’m excited and privileged to be leading an organisation that has championed consumer rights and brought clarity and an enhanced reputation to the motor industry.

“Since 2004 Motor Codes has developed into a highly respected and trusted organisation. I look forward to working with staff and, in partnership with the Trading Standards Institute and other stakeholders, ensure that Motor Codes continues to retain the full confidence of consumers and garages across the UK”.


Used vehicle values hit seven-month high at Manheim

Values in the fleet sector rose to a seven-month high in January, fuelled by a drop in the average age and mileage of vehicles, according to Manheim’s latest Market Analysis.

The new year has seen ex-fleet prices rise to £7,358, an increase of £665 (or 9.9%) compared to December 2014 and the highest average value since June last year.

Data from the report shows that the increase in value corresponds with a drop in average age, from 53 months in December 2014 to the current figure of 48 months.

In conjunction with this decline in age, average mileage also decreased by 1,899 to 59,575.

January saw prices increase across all 10 sectors covered in the report.

A notable appreciation of value is seen with 4x4s, with average prices increasing from £13,458 to £14,097.

This could be due to the usual seasonal trend of buyers snapping up the hardy, winter-ready vehicles as the cold weather continues to bite.

Daren Wiseman, valuation services manager at Manheim, said: “January’s monthly report on the defleet sector shows that the market remains largely buoyant.

“January has certainly been a strong performing month for the majority of the sector, which is evidenced by the value increase in all 10 segments analysed in the monthly report.

“Post Christmas is always a busy time for the defleet sector and this year is no different.”


25,000 ultralow emission vehicles registered

More than 25,000 plug-in car and plug-in van grant claims have been submitted since the scheme began in 2010.

January saw nearly 2000 claims, and total ULEV sales in 2014 were four times the level of the previous year. The UK is now ahead of France and Germany in ULEV take-up.

25 car models and 7 van models are currently eligible for the plug-in grant, with a further 40 ULEV models from major manufacturers expected to come to market over the next 3 years.

Transport minister Baroness Kramer said: “More and more people are deciding a ULEV is the right choice for them. They are great to drive, easily chargeable at home or on the street, and cheap to use with running costs from just 2 pence a mile. The government’s £500 million investment will help more models become available to suit a wide range of budgets. This thriving industry will support jobs and build a stronger economy.”

While plug-in car grant eligibility remains the same, a new banding system has been introduced to help prioritise grants once 50,000 have been claimed.

  • Category 1: CO2emissions of less than 50g/km and a zero emission range of at least 70 miles
  • Category 2: CO2emissions of less than 50g/km and a zero emission range between 10 and 69 miles
  • Category 3: CO2emissions of 50-75g/km and a zero emission range of at least 20 miles.

Until 31 March 2015, all qualifying cars will continue to receive a grant offer of 25% off the basic price of the car, capped at £5,000.

From 1 April 2015, cars will qualify for a 35% grant off the basic price of the car. The cap will remain at £5,000 for all cars, regardless of which category they are in, until further notice.


UK growth ‘steady as she goes’

The CBI has upgraded its growth prediction for 2015 in its latest economic forecast against a backdrop of lower oil prices and inflation

Job creation continues apace and wage growth is finally picking up. Coupled with low inflation, this will give a boost to real household incomes, going some way to improving living standards. Lower energy prices are also feeding through to lower operating costs for companies, leaving more space for investment.

The brighter picture for growth this year of 2.7% (from 2.5% expected in November) also reflects the likelihood that the MPC won’t raise interest rates until early next year, helping to support growth of 2.6% in 2016.

But political volatility, both domestic and foreign, continues as the UK general election approaches, Greece’s fiscal position remains in the spotlight and instability continues in Ukraine. As a result, exporters are finding it harder to secure orders and net trade is unlikely to provide much of a boost to growth over the next two years.

Katja Hall, CBI Deputy director-general, said, ‘UK growth continues to outshine its counterparts in Europe and progress is ‘steady as she goes’.

‘While lower oil prices are keeping costs down for businesses and consumers, the North Sea oil companies are suffering, harming jobs and investment in the industry.

‘Now is not the time for complacency, but falling unemployment coupled with improving wage growth and rock bottom inflation should mean that people see more money in their pockets.

‘But businesses are looking on anxiously as insecurity continues to troll the Eurozone and instability remains elsewhere.’

GDP growth is expected to remain steady throughout this year, rising by 0.7% each quarter. GDP is then forecast to grow strongly in 2016, by 2.6% over the year as a whole. This translates into growth of 0.6% a quarter.


Posted by Lois Hardy on 16/02/2015