Car tax is set to rise in line with inflation from April, when a host of new laws and increases will come into effect for motorists.
This is in addition to a recently introduced traffic overhaul and new congestion zone conditions, meaning many motorists will now pay less to drive in the capital.
Drivers now only have to pay the £15 charge if they are driving into central London within 11 hours from 7am to 6pm on weekdays.
From a tougher ban on cellphones to new license plates from March 1, find out all the driving changes you need to know below.
1. A cell phone loophole to ban
Stricter new laws will come into force as part of a new crackdown on mobile phone use while driving from March 25.
It is already illegal to text or make a phone call, except in an emergency, while driving.
From next month, laws will go further to prohibit drivers from using their phones to take photos or videos, scroll through playlists or play games.
This means anyone caught using their handheld device while driving will face a fixed £200 fine and six points on their licence.
Drivers will still be able to continue to use a “hands-free” device while driving, such as a satellite navigation system, if it is secured in a cradle.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Too many deaths and injuries are occurring while cellphones are detained.
“By making it easier to prosecute people who use their phones illegally while driving, we are ensuring that the law enters the 21st century while further protecting all road users.”
Following the public consultation, the government will revise the Highway Code to explain the new measures. It is understood that the fault will be closed in mid-January.
There will however be an exemption to the new law for drivers making a contactless payment using their mobile phone while stationary to ensure the law keeps pace with technology.
2. License plates
New number plates for UK vehicles will be released on March 1, affecting thousands of cars across the country.
Car registration plates change twice a year, on March 1 and September 1, for newly manufactured vehicles. These changes are being made to reflect the new year.
From tomorrow (March 1), new cars registered until August 31 will carry the label “22” on their license plate. Then from September 1, all new cars will be registered with “72”.
This will be the case until March 2023, when new license plates “23” will come into effect, followed by “73” in September 2023, and so on.
At present, new cars in the UK are registered with the label ’71’ on their number plate to represent the last registration change in September 2021.
3. Increase in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED)
Vehicle excise duty (also known as vehicle tax or road tax) is expected to rise in line with inflation from April 2022.
The amount of tax you will pay generally depends on how old your car is and how environmentally friendly it is.
Vehicles producing more than 255g of CO2 emissions per km driven will see their first year rate rise from £2,245 to £2,365.
Vehicles producing between 226g and 255g per km traveled will see increases of £1,910 to £2,015.
And vehicles producing between 76g and 90g of CO2 emissions per km will pay £120 in the first year.
Zero-emission vehicles, including electric cars, will continue to pay £0 tax the first year on the road.
4. Red diesel and discounted biofuels will become illegal for most vehicles
This measure will mainly affect companies rather than individuals, and it restricts the legal use of red diesel and discounted biofuels from April 1, 2022.
Red diesel is diesel used primarily off-road, such as for bulldozers and cranes, or to power drills for oil extraction.
The change aims to promote the use of more sustainable fuels, as part of the UK’s 2050 climate targets.
5. New builds in England will have mandatory on-board EV chargers
All new properties built in England this year, including homes and commercial buildings, will be required to have an EV charging point installed.
With the availability of more electric vehicle chargers, the government hopes to boost the uptake of electric vehicles ahead of a planned ban on the sale of new diesel and petrol cars in 2030.
6. Speed limiters in new cars
The new cars will be equipped with speed limiters from July 6, 2022 to improve road safety.
Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) black boxes will use GPS to determine what the speed limit is and then make sure the car does not exceed it.
New regulations will be imposed by the European Commission in the General Safety Regulations which were approved by the European Parliament in 2019.
ISAs will be mandatory for all new models that have received “type approval” from July 6. This means any new car released from that date, rather than new cars already in production.
7. Local Clean Air Zone Charges
London’s Clean Air Zone, also known as the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), currently charges drivers of the most polluting vehicles £12.50 a day in addition to congestion charges.
On October 25, 2021, the zone extended to the northern and southern circular ring roads, affecting more drivers with some of the most polluting vehicles.
And this year, Greater Manchester and Bradford will introduce their own clean air zones.
The Manchester Clean Air Zone will start on May 30, 2022, while a date has yet to be announced for the Bradford Clean Air Zone.
Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone comes into force in June, forcing drivers of older vehicles to £8 a day to enter the city centre.
It’s worth using the online ULEZ checker to see if the charges apply to your vehicle.
The first zero-emissions zone will also be tested in Oxford – charging all but electric vehicles that enter eight streets in the city centre.
Oxford will pilot the scheme in February 2022 – charging all drivers entering the city center £2-10 from 7am to 7pm daily.
A clean air zone for Greater Manchester, Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan will follow on May 30, 2022, but it will only apply to bus drivers, coaches, taxis, HGVs, ORVs and LCVs.
Newcastle city centre, Sheffield and Bristol will implement a similar policy in July 2022, also affecting Gateshead and North Tyneside – but it will not charge motorists.
8. Rate of benefits in kind
The rates for benefits in kind will also increase by 1% from April 2022.
Electric cars, and other vehicles producing less than 50g of CO2 per km, will now pay 2% charges instead of 1%.
All other vehicles will pay 1% more, regardless of their CO2 level.
The exceptions to this are vehicles that produce more than 156g per km – on these vehicles the rates will remain at 37%.