Big car owners could face new tax charges to stop city centre parking

Campaigners demanding cleaner air are pushing for a new charge on larger vehicles. They want new car tax changes to deter heavy SUVs from clogging up city centres, with a fresh proposal on the table.

Transport and Environment (TandE) is advocating for a revamped Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) that would target bulkier vehicles with a one-time charge in their first year. This move would primarily impact "wealthier private car buyers" and businesses, while steering clear of the second-hand car market.

The push comes in the wake of TandE's recent findings, which spotlighted an alarming trend of increasing vehicle width across Europe and the UK.

In response to queries about potential solutions, Ralph Palmer, Electric Vehicle and Fleets Officer at Transport and Environment, suggested taxation as a viable strategy, reports the Express.

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In an exclusive chat with, Ralph explained: "At national level, the Government could reform first-year Vehicle Excise Duty, the tax paid when purchasing a brand new car, to account for the weight of the car, as well as CO2 emissions as is currently the case."

He added: "This would fall on corporate fleets and wealthier private car buyers, not those buying used cars."

A recent briefing paper by TandE, titled 'reforming UK car taxation', delved into the specifics of a proposed "weight malus" system.

They pointed out that such a scheme is already successfully implemented in France, where additional charges are levied based on a vehicle's weight.

TandE have proposed a plan to discourage the purchase of large SUVs, which they argue bring with them a host of negative impacts. The specialists pointed out that these vehicles are typically more polluting, cause greater damage to roads and occupy more space.

They also drew attention to the potential increased risks posed to other road users, including pedestrians and cyclists. TandE's report stated: "The UK Government should follow the example set by the French Government and add a weight malus element to its acquisition tax to discourage new car buyers from purchasing large SUVs."

It added: "However, the UK should go further and ensure that the weight malus also applies to BEVs, with a higher threshold to account for the heavier weight BEVs have due to the battery."

The report continued: "It should also treat PHEVs equally to other polluting models as a result of their comparable real-world emissions."

TandE also urged local councils to consider implementing higher parking charges for those with heavier vehicles. Some SUV owners in Paris have seen their fees triple after the city introduced a hefty £15 (€18) parking charge.