Change is on its way for drivers in the UK

Change is an inevitable part of life. We don’t always like it but can’t avoid it. It often feels like you get used to things being a certain way and then all of a sudden they change.

If you are a driver in the UK you may be aware that some aspects of driving are about to change? Let’s take a look at four areas where change is on its way.


Priority for pedestrians and cyclists

As part of the government initiative to encourage people to make sustainable travel choices, the Highway Code will be changing to give priority to pedestrians and cyclists on UK roads. The changes are part of a £338 million package aimed at boosting walking and cycling, and helping to make air cleaner and cities greener.

The Department for Transport proposals for a new road user hierarchy in the Highway Code are due to be approved by parliament this autumn. They are likely to have various impact on drivers, including:

  • giving pedestrians priority over cars at junctions and crossings;
  • strengthening pedestrian priority on pavements;
  • giving cyclists priority when travelling straight ahead at junctions;
  • raising awareness about the dangers of speeding.

Expect to hear a lot more about this in the autumn, but just be aware it is all about to happen!


Congestion Charges

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the hours covered by the London Congestion Charge were extended. The daily charge of £15 applied between 07:00-22:00 every day, except Christmas Day.

Consultation is now taking place on the future operation of the Congestion Charge. The current proposal is that the Charge will still apply every day – excluding between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day inclusive – but only between the hours of 12:00-18:00. 

It is hoped that by retaining the Congestion Charge at weekends, but removing it in the evenings, culture, hospitality and night-time businesses will be supported. At the same time, traffic congestion will be reduced and the post-pandemic recovery will be green and sustainable.

Another proposed change is that drivers can pay the Congestion Charge up to three days after travel.

Watch this space to see how these proposals develop over the next few months.


Electric cars

Climate change is a topic of major concern to many people, and is being addressed at the highest levels at forums such as the G7 summit in Cornwall this June, and the forthcoming UN Climate Change Conference – COP26 – in Glasgow in October and November. The UK has a target of achieving zero carbon emissions by 2050. As part of this, the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned by 2030, and of new hybrid cars from 2035. 

So if you are planning to change your car any time soon, you might just want to keep this in the back of your mind. At some point you are going to have to change over to an electric car, so you need to start considering how much it is worth spending on a non-electric car if you are thinking in terms of your car being a long term investment.


Taking your car to Europe

Travel has been off the agenda for most people for the last 18 months. This means that the various travel implications of Brexit may not yet have sunk in.

If you are planning to travel to Europe by car, you will now need to display a GB car sticker. If you have a UK photocard driving licence this enables you to drive in the EU. However, if you only have a paper licence or if your licence was issued in Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man or Gibraltar you will need to apply for an international driving permit (IDP). For more details check the Gov UK website.

Regarding insurance, you will need to have a green card issued by your UK insurer. This is an international certificate of insurance which confirms that you have the necessary minimum level of third-party insurance required to drive in the EU. 


So in terms of driving in the UK – and also for UK drivers driving in the EU – changes are afoot. We advise you to keep up to date with changes that are likely to affect you so that you are prepared for any adjustments you may need to make.

If you are planning to make improvements to your car this autumn, remember that Advantage offers short term loans that may be able to help.

Check back here soon for more lifestyle and financial tips from Advantage Loans.