RAC calls for DVLA to set up website for drivers to check car emissions

Written by Richard Johnstone, Liam Kirkaldy and Jenni Davidson on 17 November 2017 in News

The vehicle agency has been urged to set up an online resource ahead of the launch of low emission zones

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The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is being urged to develop a website to allow motorists to check a car’s emission standard ahead of the rollout of clean air zones across the UK.

The RAC motoring group claimed that drivers lack an easy and official source to check a vehicle’s category under the Euro emissions standard.

It is calling on the DVLA to “urgently develop” a website that allows every UK driver to check their car’s Euro emission standard by entering the vehicle’s registration number.

A number of other European countries already offer such a service, according to the RAC, and as the DVLA already holds a detailed log of every registered vehicle in the UK, it is ideally placed to provide an online look-up at GOV.UK as part of its vehicle information database.

The organisation said the service should be made available well ahead of the anticipated rollout of clean air zones – called low emission zones in Scotland – so that motorists have enough time to check which category their vehicle falls under and if necessary consider changing it rather than face unexpected charges.

As well as pledging to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040, the UK Government’s Clean Air Strategy included plans to mandate local authorities to create and implement comprehensive clean air zones to tackle nitrogen dioxide levels.

Outlining the Programme for Government for the coming parliamentary year, Nicola Sturgeon unveiled plans to phase out new petrol and diesel cars and vans in Scotland by 2032, eight years before the rest of the UK.

The First Minister also announced plans to establish low emission zones in every Scottish city by 2020 and to all air quality management areas by 2023.

The first low emission zone in Scotland will be implemented in Glasgow by the end of 2018.

Introducing these schemes without giving drivers a way to check their vehicle standards would leave them confused about whether or not they are likely to be impacted, RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said.

“As councils across the UK develop plans to tackle harmful emissions on a local level, we expect millions of drivers will want to find out the Euro emissions category of their vehicle – and the natural place to look will be on the official GOV.UK website,” he said.

“We’ve already seen a big increase in traffic to our own website from people trying to find this information and to understand more about what the Euro emissions standard actually means.

“It is simply unacceptable that there is currently no easy-to-use or conclusive online look-up system available – this will no doubt leave drivers confused about whether or not they are likely to be impacted by the introduction of clean air zones.”

Responding to the comments, a DVLA spokesman said: “There’s a lot of mileage in the suggestion.

“The Department for Transport is at the forefront of this work, and DVLA has already been in discussions with manufacturers for some time on how they can share Euro status information to allow us to make it more accessible.”

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