Drivers, watch out! Here are just some of the latest potential changes to the law that will affect everyone that gets behind the wheel in the United Kingdom in 2020.

While it’s uncertain at what point in 2020 some of these laws will come into effect, it is still good to be aware of any changes before they happen.

Low emission rules

Low emission rules have already been in place in the capital since April 2019, but now more cities across the country will be added to the list.

Currently in central London, if a vehicle doesn’t meet ULEZ emission standards, the driver has to pay a charge to drive in the defined area. The ban affects older diesel cars more heavily. Now in 2020, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Newcastle, Derby and Edinburgh will be added to the list of cities charging cars producing high emissions.

Driving permits and green cards

If, on the 31st of January, we leave the EU without a deal government guidance explains that current British driving licences will be useless.

If you’re planning to drive in the EU as a visitor, you will have to spend £5.50 on an international permit – that’s only if we leave without a deal though.

You will also need to carry a motor insurance green card when driving your own car in the EU and EEA.

Parking surcharges and new legislation

Since 1974, there has been a pavement parking ban in London but the rest of the UK could soon follow suit. However, this legislation is facing some opposition, so it could be some time before we are no longer allowed to park on the pavement.

In positive news, the RAC has been backing changes to implement a new code of practice which will protect drivers from rogue parking companies by banning certain practices and create a single, independent appeals process throughout England.

New MOT rules

There are new categories for defects with cars which drivers will have to understand, which are:

Dangerous – Direct risk to road safety or the environment. Results in a fail.

Major – Could affect safety or the environment. Results in a fail.

Minor – No effect on safety, but should be repaired as soon as possible.

Advisory – Could have an effect in future.

Pass – Meets the current legal standards.

A variety of new requirements are also being included in the MOT for the first time.

These include checks for:

Under-inflated tyres

Contaminated brake fluid

Brake pad warning lights and missing brake pads or discs

Reversing lights (for vehicles newer than September 2009)

Daytime running lights (for vehicles newer than March 2018).

Smart Motorways

It is already an offence to drive in a lane closed by a red X sign on a smart motorway and if caught, you could receive a fixed penalty of up to £100 and three points. However, legislation is now being worked on to enforce even stronger penalties.

Highways England is also planning to build more emergency refuge areas across the smart motorway network, with work on the M25 having already begun.

Car tax

Another change which will affect users of high emission cars. High emission cars will be charged up to an additional £15, and diesel car owners whose vehicles fail to meet the new mandatory RDE2 emissions standard will continue to pay higher tax rates.

New car buyers could also face an extra £65 on their first year’s car tax.

At Bluestones Supply Chain, we always keep up to date with changing laws which could affect our drivers and companies we work with. If you want to find out more about how we can support your business, please get in touch with our dedicated team.