£20 fine for idling engines?

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Drivers who leave their engines idling in central London could face a fine of £20 under plans to improve air quality.

Traffic marshals from Westminster City Council will patrol the streets of the borough, approaching motorists who sit in stationary cars with the engine running.

The Fixed Penalty Notice, which will go up to £40 if not paid within 28 days, will be a “last resort” if drivers refuse to turn off their vehicles on request from the traffic marshals. The measure will be introduced on 1st May.

London Mayor Boris Johnson introduced a number of no-idling zones in 2011, with traffic marshals targeting “hot spots” including taxi ranks outside major stations and coaches on Park Lane.

The new policy follows Camden Council’s fines for buses which idle for too long, introduced in 2011, and Islington Council’s fines for idling vehicles introduced in August last year.

Councils spend £275m a year on grey fleet

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UK councils are spending more than a quarter of a billion pounds a year keeping hundreds of thousands of grey fleet drivers on the road.

Local authorities in England foot three-quarters (76.3%) of the annual bill, reimbursing £209 million to more than 267,000 employees who drive their own car in the course of their work.

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Planned fuel duty rise cancelled

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In the 2015 Budget the Chancellor confirmed that September’s planned 0.54p per litre + VAT rise in fuel duty was cancelled. It means that there will have been no rise in fuel duty for five years.

Other Budget announcements impacting on the fleet market included:

• A rate of inflation increase for Vehicle Excise Duty from April 1, but the majority of charges have been held at their 2014/15 levels, notably for lower emission vehicles.

• The fuel benefit charge multiplier for company cars will increase from £21,700 in 2014-15 to £22,100 in 2015/16.

• The van benefit-in-kind tax charge will increase from £3,090 in 2014/15 to £3,150 in 2015/16. The Government has confirmed the end of the benefit-in-kind tax exemption status of electric vans from 2015/16, and that full van benefit charge will not apply until 2020/21. The charge will be phased in - 20% of the rate paid by conventionally fuelled vans in 2015/16, followed by 40% in 2016/17, 60% in 2017/18, 80% in 2018/19 and 90% in 2019/20, with the rates equalised in 2020-21 when there will be a single benefit charge applying to all vans.

• From April 6, 2015 the van fuel benefit charge multiplier will increase from £581 to £594.

• The Government will, once the Severn River Crossings are in public ownership post-2018, abolish VAT and reduce tolls by the equivalent amount and, abolish Category 2 (small goods vehicles and small buses) and include those vehicles in Category 1 (motor cars and motor caravans), therefore reducing the toll paid by small goods vehicles and small buses. Current toll fees are: Category 1 (cars and motor caravans) £6.50, Category 2 (small goods vehicles and small buses) £13.10, Category 3 (HGVs and buses) £19.60. The Chancellor’s announcement will mean cars, motor caravans, small goods vehicles and caravans will pay £5.40 based on current charges and HGVs and buses £16.30.