FBHVC Legislation

Basingstoke Classic Car Club


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. 5 - 2017


Geoff Lancaster


It has been eerily quiet on the political front during the Summer. Given the Parliamentary recess I suppose this is nothing out of the ordinary. It does nothing however to dampen our concern about the future of our passion for heritage vehicles. It is our 30th anniversary next year and not a year has passed in all our years of operation when some threat to our existence has presented itself. We should not be paranoid about this. The legislators are not out to get us. But it is very often the case that our ‘special needs’ are forgotten when framing legislation and unintended consequences follow. This is why the Federation exists and we appreciate very much that you and many others value the work we do. Be assured this remains our prime focus and we are unwavering in our objective to secure our members the freedom to use their vehicles on the highway.


Our core team is our Board numbering nine people and all unpaid volunteers. Each of us has a dedicated role and usually a handful of keen volunteers to help out. We are all nominees from our ‘host’ clubs so we have access to specialist help and advice from the 500+ clubs who are our members and indeed through

their subscriptions our primary source of income. Not a huge organisation then, as some people imagine, and very modest resources for the amount of work we do.


That aside we very much agree with the suggestion put us by several members that an organisation such as ours, depending on public goodwill, should have a much greater presence in mass and social media. We recognise this failing and are trying to address it but as you are aware this is an extremely dynamic period of change in new media and it is proving difficult for our small team to keep up! We only produced our first video last year (there will be others) and this launched our presence on You Tube linked to our website which was refreshed and relaunched 3 years ago. The latter is already ‘old hat’ and I am tasked by the board to relaunch it next year. We have had a presence on Facebook for just 2 years but this is growing and our younger volunteers are quite active with postings. One of these has also begun live streaming from events he attends!


We have some way to go yet, as some of you have highlighted, but with encouragement of enthusiasts like yourself we will continue along the road to improvement.



Bob Owen



Given the uncertainties since the General Election and the summer, it is small wonder that there is not a great deal new to report on the legislative front. Ian Edmunds has dealt with the current DVLA matters and there is nothing more I need to say in that regard.



There have been developments in the environmental area.

In the light of the pressures described in the last edition of the Newsletter, the Government has moved quickly to respond, albeit largely at a high level, to the Consultation called “Tackling nitrogen dioxide in our towns and cities” which it released in May.


From our point of view the good news is that the Government has in confirmed the Framework, of which a draft formed part of the Consultation of October 2016, on Clean Air Zones. This Framework, dated July 2017, sets out what is essentially a template for the regulations which will be required to underpin any new Low Emission (or Clean Air) Zone, particularly where a charging regime is being contemplated.


This Framework provides in paragraph 3.9.1 that there will be an exemption for vehicles in the “historic “registration class. The argument for this exemption, which the Federation in fact did not put forward, but with which we strongly agree, is that charging schemes are designed to encourage the owners of vehicles subject to charge to replace them. They recognise that there is no public interest in the destruction of historic artefacts, so vehicles which are in preservation ought not to be subject to the charge. We will be wise to keep an eye on local authorities in case they try to exceed the Government’s requirements and exclude or limit the effects of the exemptions. I would welcome any information, which any member living in or near an area for which a Clean Air charging zone is being proposed might come upon, if there is any over-enthusiasm in local authorities, in case we need to contact them or to promote local support for toeing the central Government line.


To remind you, the Emissions Surcharge to the London Congestion Charge (or “T Charge” as it is known) will come into force on 23rd October. While that surcharge does include the exemption for “historic” class vehicles, these vehicles remain liable to the Congestion Charge itself.


There are a couple of matters which I think should be brought to the attention of readers, though they will affect only some of our membership.


The first is that we have supported the Government approach that they should use the “historic” registration class as the basis for exemptions. Their primary reason is of course that ANPR cameras recognise vehicles in this class which makes the operation of camera based charging zones practical. Of course, the Federation recognises that this means that only vehicles over 40 years old qualify for exemption while the internationally recognised definition of a historic vehicle is 30 years. In the view of the Federation, to have sought recognition of the newer vehicles would probably not have succeeded, but would have perhaps raised opposition in Government to our interests which has not to date been evident.


The other example is a bit more obscure and affects only a small proportion of our members.


When the Greater London LEZ, which affects only buses, coaches and goods vehicles, was introduced, the “historic” registration class did not exist. Thus, the date of 1973, which then represented the date at which vehicles became eligible for nil-rate Vehicle Excise Duty, was chosen as the date for exemption. At that time, the date was not rolling forward as it now is. This date remains the qualification date for exemption from the Greater London LEZ


In the drafting of Orders for the London ULEZ and the “T Charge” this date was maintained, in addition to the “historic “class qualification. This means that the small number of buses and coaches (and there may be a few HGVs) which operate on a revenue earning basis, and which are thus not eligible for the “historic” class, nevertheless gain the benefit of the exemption in all London Clean Air Zones.


This is not however carried forward in to the national template. The view of the Federation has to date been that the additional complexity, in respect of a very small absolute number of vehicles which might be affected in any individual Clean Air Zone, would not be welcomed by Government and we have accepted the exemption as being based upon the “historic” registration class. The Federation does not consider that it could make a valid case for retrospective amendment to the overall Framework in this regard. The Federation would hope that if in any case the use of any heritage vehicle would be prejudiced by their having to pay a charge in any specific Clean Air Zone, ad hoc local arrangements might be made. We will continue to keep an eye on this but we would need to be advised as to whether there could be a real problem of any scale in any particular Clean Air Zone.


The Government have chosen not at the moment to proceed with any official scrappage scheme. They propose to issue a further consultation ‘in the Autumn’ to cover options for measures to combat pollution which may include what they describe as ‘targeted’ scrappage schemes. However, they have clearly decided that a general scrappage scheme would not be good value for taxpayers and would be liable to fraud. Readers should therefore note that those schemes which have been announced by some manufacturers are purely private and commercial in nature, and their terms are decided upon by those manufacturers, not by Government.




Vnuk has not gone away. DfT has published a summary of the responses to its Technical Consultation, to which of course we contributed. In the summary, it is not clear whether they have yet fully understood the scale and importance of the issue we raised of immovable vehicles, such as those permanently in museums.

Nevertheless, there is a mass of evidence for them to consider.

It still remains of surprise to the Federation that this is seen as a matter of such concern by the UK Government but not by any other EU Member State. Though the EU Commission is looking at possible revisions to the Insurance Directive to take account of the general surprise created by the interpretation of that Directive by the European Court of Justice, Member States have not to our knowledge expressed concern as to how fast this examination should proceed. We are still not clear whether the perception of problems in the UK is a function of the laws in the UK, experience of some difficult court cases, or the relationship between Government and the insurance industry. We would hope in the near future to have greater clarity as to the intentions of DfT and from that to tease out why it is such a concern here.

We will let you know what we find out. Meanwhile we can all be reassured that an immediate requirement to extend the range of vehicles to be insured is not about to appear. There will be good notice.



DfT have published the summary of responses received to their Consultation but not yet issued a formal response setting out what they intend to do. However, the Federation has been given reason to believe DfT do intend to introduce an MoT exemption at 40 years old for vehicles which have not been ‘substantially modified’, which would be known as ‘Vehicles of Historic Interest’ (VHIs), using a test based upon the eight point rule as identified in the Consultation.

We have been told by DfT that they do not see using the simple age based exemption, such as is being implemented in Sweden, which I described in the last edition, as being consistent with the laws in the UK.

We also have reason to believe there may be a possibility of discussions with the Federation before something immutable is announced.


Nothing has yet been published concerning the minor changes to the MOT which the Directive will require and which were set out in what was known as the ‘Fast Tractors’ Consultation. As you will recall we did have concerns, which we set out in our response to the Consultation, as to the possibility of inclusion in the MOT of a test on the speedometer,


We will keep you posted on both these matters as our knowledge increases.




And finally, for those still having their vehicles MOT tested, whether or not on a voluntary basis, I would draw your attention a new service provided by DVSA which will enable vehicle owners to receive an e-mail reminder of when their MOT is due. The reminder arrives one month before the due date.

To enrol for this useful service, you should visit the following website. https://www.reminders.mot-testing.service.gov.uk/





Regulatory Position on the Use of LED Light Sources in Historic Vehicles


The use of LED light sources has been of interest to the historic vehicle community for as long as LEDs have been readily available and not surprisingly many articles have been written on the subject in both club magazines and in the specialist press. Unfortunately, not all of the information provided has been accurate and FBHVC felt it should research the subject to enable the provision of definitive guidance to its members.




The 1970s saw the immergence of lamps approved to European standards. There were two parallel sets of standards, normally technically identical but emanating from different organisations. These were ECE Regulations and EEC Directives, lamps approved to the former were identified by an approval number preceded by a capital ‘E’ whilst those approved to the latter bore a similar mark preceded by a lower case ‘e’. These are commonly referred to as ‘e/E marks’. The testing required to gain such an approval for a lamp was far more scientific than anything that had gone before and included measuring actual light output across a standard grid. Repetition of this performance can only be guaranteed by use of bulbs meeting precise standards and for this reason a similar approval regime exists for bulbs and e/E marked lamps on vehicles first used after 1st January 1986 are only permitted to be fitted with approved, and e/E marked, bulbs. Whilst today LEDs are tested and approved for use in specified lamp assemblies none bear the approval permitting them to be used in e/E marked lamps intended to employ incandescent bulbs.


In addition to research by the FBHVC Legislation Committee an opinion was also sought from Department for Transport and the Committee were gratified to find their conclusions confirmed. However, we should repeat a warning from the DfT reply – “The guidance provided is based on the requirements of The Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations and all vehicles must comply when used on the road, ultimately interpretation of law is the sole prerogative of the courts.”


As the title implies this article relates solely to the regulations surrounding the use of LEDs but nevertheless a brief explanation of what we mean by LED and the reason why their use can be beneficial might not come amiss. LED is an abbreviation of light emitting diode and their advantage stems from the fact that they do not generate as much heat as a conventional incandescent bulb. Thus, for a given electrical power the light output is much higher, or conversely a given light output can be achieved from a lower electrical power. This latter characteristic is of great value in early vehicles with marginal generator output.


Unfortunately, the relevant regulations are quite complex and there is no simple overall yes or no answer to the question “is it legal to use LEDs in the existing lamps on my historic vehicle?” The situation is different for different lamps and also for different dates of first registration of the vehicle in question. This article will explain the background before summarising the conclusions at the end.


There is no regulation that specifically prohibits the use of LEDs in lamps first used prior to the e/E marking requirements, although there is a requirement for e/E marked lamps fitted to a vehicle first used on or after 1st April 1986 to be fitted with e/E marked bulbs.

(see side bar)

The applicable date varies for different lamps but it should be noted that these dates are such that vehicles from the end of our period will be affected.

The regulations also include a requirement applicable to all lamps that they shall not cause undue dazzle or discomfort to other persons using the road. This should be borne in mind whenever a lamp is made to be brighter than it was originally designed to be. With particular reference to headlamps, a light source of a different type and in consequence of different physical size and shape is very unlikely to work correctly with the optical design of the lamp and the risk of causing undue dazzle or discomfort becomes a very real one.


Another complicating factor is that the regulations quote minimum wattages for certain lamps. For dip-beam headlamps these range from 10W for small motorcycles to 30W for four or more wheeled vehicles and similarly 15W to 30W for main beam headlamps. Stop lamps on vehicles first used after 1st January 1971 and all direction indicators require a minimum of 15W. These minimum wattage limits were undoubtedly included originally to ensure adequate brightness of the lamps in question but now they provide a barrier to the use of LEDs. This arises because of the greater efficiency of LEDs, i.e. more light from fewer watts, the result being that the LEDs are of too low a wattage to comply with the regulations even though the actual light output may be entirely adequate.


Lamps where the use of LEDs is legal subject to the conditions noted earlier -

  • Front Position Lamps. (Side lamps). Vehicles first registered before 1st January 1972

LED light sources in the original lamps are compliant.


  • Rear Position Lamps. (Tail lamps). Vehicles first registered before 1st January 1974

LED light sources in the original lamps are compliant.

  • Rear Registration Plate Lamps. Vehicles first registered before 1st April 1986

LED light sources in the original lamps are compliant.


Reproduced with kind permission of FBHVC


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