Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC)
The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs exists to maintain our freedom to use Yesterday’s Vehicles on Tomorrow’s Roads. Additionally we encourage the preservation and promotion of all types of vehicle within the broader context of our national heritage.
It does this by representing the interests of owners of such vehicles to politicians, government officials, and legislators both in UK and (through membership of Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens) in Europe.
FBHVC is a company limited by guarantee, registered number 3842316, and was founded in 1988.
There are nearly 500 subscriber organisations representing a total membership of over 250,000 in addition to individual and trade supporters.
Reference: Newsletter No. 4 - 2017
I have to start my editorial this month with an abject apology. Regular readers will recall that two issues ago our main feature was a fascinating profile of the much lamented former marque, Bristol. I originally came across this piece, penned by the legendary ‘muttering rotter’, Gordon Bruce, in Motoring Classics, which is published monthly by FBHVC trade supporter, British Motor Heritage Limited and it was BMH who kindly gave permission for us to reprint it in FBHVC News. Through my oversight I neglected to acknowledge this privilege for which I am extremely sorry. Incidentally, I see Motoring Classics because it is inserted each month with my cherished copy of Octane and I may say they sit together in perfect harmony both representing the highest standards of British motoring journalism. If you don’t see this magazine, it’s a must and it is also available online. The current issue features a profile of Moss Motors, an article celebrating the 60th anniversary of Stirling Moss’s epic Vanwall victory at Aintree, a profile of the latter’s late sister, Pat, the missing moniker regular feature profiling the Swallow Doretti, a history of the caravan and a really fascinating history of the black cab. Compulsory reading for any enthusiast, I would have said. Geoff Lancaster
UK Legislation – Bob Owen
There is a Chinese curse, ‘May you live in interesting times’! Given the outcome of the General Election, it is good news to be able to report that John Hayes MP, who has knowledge of, and is sympathetic to, historic vehicles and with whom we were able to establish a good working relationship during the last Parliament through the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group, remains in post.
However, it takes time for things to settle down following a General Election and the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group is not as yet re-established for the new Parliament. There may be consequences of the current uncertainties, so we will just have to wait and see.
The other EU matter is of course roadworthiness testing. At the time of writing there has not been any announcement from Department of Transport (DfT) on how, following the Consultation, DfT proposes that the United Kingdom will apply the European Roadworthiness Testing Directive.
In passing, there may be a hold-up arising from a problem in providing a formal notification to the EU Commission which has really nothing to do with roadworthiness testing per se. As the roadworthiness testing of motor vehicles in Northern Ireland is devolved to the Government of Northern Ireland, DfT has formal authority only for roadworthiness testing in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). But there is not, and nor has there been for some months, a functioning Government of Northern Ireland. There is an understandable unwillingness in Westminster to assert direct rule. So there is no-one with the authority to submit a single combined notification to the EU Commission! We have no idea how this problem is being dealt with, but it might well be contributing to the delay.
But we still fear DfT is wedded to introducing an MoT exemption at 40 years old (for which we never asked and to which we know many of our members are actively opposed), not for the whole cohort of vehicles in the ‘historic’ class but only those which have not been ‘substantially modified’, which would be known as Vehicles of Historic Interest (VHIs). Dft think it needs to test for this.
We think this is a very poor idea in principle, probably resulting in excessive bureaucracy. We know that Sweden, which plans to stay in the EU, has a very similar tradition to that of the UK of permitting people over the years to change and modify their vehicles without close Government oversight and has examined what would be involved in retrospectively examining historic vehicles for modifications. The Swedish Government has decided any possible safety benefits of doing this exercise would be outweighed by its cost. They have decided simply to exempt all vehicles over 50 years old. DfT have shown a complete lack of interest in this precedent, arguing that it is legally necessary under the laws of the United Kingdom to proceed in this way.
But quite apart from the principle we are particularly concerned at the DfT proposal contained in the Consultation to use the ‘8 point rule’, currently used to regulate applications for registration of ‘radically altered vehicles’, to assess which vehicles qualify as VHIs. The superficial attractions of this approach are clear but its use without modification, would introduce all sorts of questions about the date, rather than the technical standard, of any changes and would in any event be almost impossible to apply retrospectively to a cohort of vehicles, many of which will have changed hands since modifications were made, and the records of modification for which, if they ever existed, could be irretrievably lost.
I had hoped, as I reported on in the last Issue, possibly to have seen progress on the establishment of a workable method of deciding what is a VHI, and indeed to have been involved in some level of discussion but this has not yet occurred. We will be progressing the matter.
I am happy to report we had a very good meeting on 21 May with our counterparts at DVLA. As usual, Ian Edmunds will deal with the detail. The most important development however was the one set out immediately following this paragraph. We recognise that quite a bit of significant work in DVLA went into solving this problem for which we are grateful. As always we were impressed by the fact that the attitude in DVLA to the registration of historic vehicles remains as positive and enthusiastic as ever.
Vehicle Excise Duty
You will recall that we had identified a problem. Vehicles manufactured up to 31 December 1976 are now, under the Finance Act, subject to a nil rate of VED. However, a change to DVLA practices in 1977, 40 years ago, removed from the DVLA registration database, and thus from the V5C certificate, any reference to the date of manufacture. This meant that DVLA were unable to deal in quite the way they had previously with vehicles actually made in 1976 but first registered in 1977. Some members were advised their record could not be changed, which meant they would have had to pay VED for a further year.
On 21 June, DVLA informed us the problem is solved. It apparently involved quite a bit of internal rejigging of their database, not visible to keepers.
In principle the process stays the same. Of course since 1977 the V5C has not shown an actual date of manufacture, and it will still not do so. However, where a vehicle was manufactured in the year prior to its first registration, once the actual date of manufacture is accepted by DVLA the vehicle will be shown as in the ‘historic’ class.
The evidence required remains exactly as before. The keeper will need to provide data from the manufacturer demonstrating when the vehicle was made. There are of course still the exemptions previously agreed where the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust (BMIHT) and Jaguar Heritage Certificates will be acceptable if the keeper really cannot obtain original data. If there are other cases where the data cannot be obtained (and we expect them to be very rare) it is essential to use a specialist club with experience of the marque involved.
We anticipate that assuming that the VED continues to roll forward this solution will work smoothly for future years.
Compulsory Insurance under the EU Motor Insurance Directive (Vnuk)
The UK of course currently remains a member of the EU and there are some consequences of this. As a result of a decision of the European Court of Justice (known as ‘Vnuk’) which re-interpreted the EU Motor Insurance Directive, the UK Government has decided that they need to compel insurance of all motor vehicles, whether or not they are used on the highway. I set out the issue and our problems with this in the two previous editions of the Newsletter.
As I told you, we responded to the DfT’s Technical Consultation. We have received a letter in acknowledgement. This letter reminds us that we remain in the EU till the Brexit negotiations are complete and then UK formally leaves. The letter restates the intent of the Government to try to negotiate a practical solution with the EU but does not offer any solution to their perceived underlying problem.
A really puzzling aspect of this issue is that it appears to be unique to the United Kingdom. The FIVA Legislation Commission meeting in Brussels in May, which I attended, discussed the matter in some detail and established that no other EU Government appears to see the consequences of the Vnuk judgement as having such a serious set of consequences. This difference in approach, which may be down to different legal systems, remains somewhat mystifying and we will continue to seek clarification as to what underlies the difference.
We will keep involved in this matter and let you know as it develops.
Low Emissions Zones
In May, as a consequence of a ruling of the High Court the Government must produce a plan on improving air quality. DfT and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) together issued a Consultation called ‘Tackling Nitrogen Dioxide in our Towns and Cities’. In our response we made two primary points.
Firstly we asked if this Consultation complemented the existing October 2016 Consultation on Clean Air Zones to which we had responded in December 2016. To make sure the two subjects were considered together, we included a copy of our earlier response. This was important as it is only in the Clean Air Zones Consultation that Government recognises the justification for an exemption for historic vehicles. We wish this Government position to be maintained.
Secondly, the Consultation promotes the possibility of scrappage schemes for some older vehicles. We suggested that any scheme exclude from its ambit any vehicle which is already in the historic taxation class. Readers will recall that under the previous scrappage scheme, a number of historic vehicles were lost.
The Emissions Surcharge to the London Congestion Charge (or T Charge as it is known) will come into force on 23 October. That surcharge does not of course apply to historic class vehicles. To remind readers, that does not mean historic vehicles are exempted from the Congestion Charge itself.
Lastly, Transport for London has issued a brief online Consultation on the bringing forward of the London Ultra Low Emission Zones’ (ULEZ’s) commencement from the planned 7 September 2020 to 8 April 2019. We responded simply reminding them of our agreement with the continuing exemption for historic vehicles, and reminding them that we would like to see a method of recognition of overseas historic vehicles, in line with best international practice.
FBHVC attended the latest of our regular liaison meetings with DVLA towards the end of June. The headline news from this concerning vehicles just becoming eligible for VED exemption is explained elsewhere by Bob Owen, I will outline a few other points here.
We were able to report to DVLA that we had received no information to indicate that their very welcome revised approach to vehicles fitted with recently constructed bodies applying for V765 or age-related registrations was causing any problems. However, it was stressed that it is still early days as there may be a delay before potential applicants who had been waiting for a resolution complete their restorations and submit their applications.
Late Conversion Scheme
Finally, from the Swansea meeting, DVLA informed us of a change to the late conversion scheme. To remind you, when the centralised DVLC system was first established, known keepers of inactive vehicles were invited to register an interest in the registration, they were then issued with a letter acknowledging this interest. That letter could then be used at a later date to permit the registration of the vehicle in question onto the new system. DVLA have for some time been considering closing this scheme, as in the last year they only received 21 applications. The late conversion scheme will now be merged with the V765 scheme and the letter of interest will be accepted as evidence for the re-issue of the registration. The only difference to the applicant is that the registration number will now be allocated on a non-transferable basis whilst late conversion registrations were transferable. I doubt if many vehicle owners will object to that!
DVLA Rejection Letters
It was confirmed that, as agreed at the previous meeting, the staff in the operational areas of DVLA had been asked to review their rejection letters in an attempt to assist the applicant in understanding why their application had been rejected and what was needed for any future application. I felt able to feedback that from the small sample I had seen this objective was being met but that perhaps there was still further to go.
The Federation had previously suggested to DVLA that if it were possible to channel all first registration (age-related) applications for historic vehicles through a specific registration team, that team would have more opportunity to become familiar with the complexities of historic vehicles with a resulting reduction in first time rejections that needed to subsequently be reviewed. DVLA were able to tell us that broadly speaking that is now the case although at peak periods there might be exceptions. Obviously, we will be interested to see if this does result in an improvement.
Although putting this information in the Newsletter is perhaps not going to reach the majority of the people who need to read it I would nevertheless like to stress that anyone wishing to register a historic vehicle should first seek the advice of an appropriate club. The clubs are where the specialised knowledge and experience is to be found. The Federation is of course always willing to assist, and we do have helpful contacts in Swansea, but the clubs handle the bulk of the applications and have the experience that comes from that. On the subject of clubs I would like to draw attention to the DVLA V765/3 form (Guidance notes for those countersigning V765 applications and/or verifying date of manufacture for age-related numbers), paragraph 3 on the first page – ‘...but should not refuse applications for relevant vehicles from non-members.’ I have noticed recently a couple of clubs stating that they cannot offer this service to non-members. I feel it is important for all of us that clubs attempt to operate this scheme as intended. There is no reason not to charge non-members, or charge them more than members, or to otherwise encourage them to join the club, but clubs should not totally refuse to assist.
EU legislation – The following is an extract from FIVA’s EU lobbying service
MEP calls for 25% EV target for 2025
Bas Eickhout, the Dutch Green Group MEP tasked with writing the European Parliament’s Transport Committee Report on the Low Emission Mobility Strategy has called on the European Commission to ensure that clear price signals reflecting the ‘polluter-pays’ and ‘user-pays’ principles are established to ensure fairness across the transport modes and to ensure that standards for interoperable road tolling should include distance-based charging based on a differentiation of CO2 emissions and wants the principle to apply to cars and vans (currently they only apply to trucks) and be applied in urban areas. There may be a target to ensure at least a quarter of all vehicles sold by EU manufacturers run on electricity by 2025.
FIVA is encouraging other members of the Committee to table an amendment stating that any legislation derived from or related to the Low Emission Mobility Strategy take into consideration any potentially negative effects on the use of historic vehicles and provide provisions so that historic vehicle use is not disproportionately and unnecessarily impacted by legislation in order to preserve motoring heritage.
European Commission consults on specific Intelligent Transport System
The European Commission has launched a consultation on the evaluation of the 2010 ITS Directive. The Directive includes Recital 10 stating: ‘Vehicles which are operated mainly for their historical interest and were originally registered and/or type- approved and/or put into service before the entry into force of this Directive and of its implementing measures should not be affected by the rules and procedures laid down in this Directive’. The consultation asks for specific views on ITS applications.
FIVA’s Legislation Commission is currently developing views on the ITS systems most likely to come into use in the near future – for example on truck-platooning - and will provide these views to the consultation whilst also reiterating FIVA’s general point and concerns about ITS and historic vehicles.
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