SUV drivers in England face new 'width limit' in crackdown

SUVs could be hit with new "width limits" to stop "cars getting bigger" under new plans. Motorists with SUVs are being targeted with calls for widespread changes including the introduction of width limits under new proposals and a campaign from road users.

Ralph Palmer, Electric Vehicle and Fleets Officer at Transport & Environment (T&E) has called for a new Government to “explore measures” to tackle the growing rise in large vehicles. Speaking to, Ralph said: “The Government could explore measures such as setting width limits on new cars after 2030 to stop cars continuing to get bigger, as well as measures in the UK's ZEV mandate that encourage carmakers to prioritise more efficient EVs which would likely have the effect of reducing car sizes.”

It comes after it emerged new cars in the EU and UK have grown 1cm wider every two years, driven by large luxury SUVs whose sales show no sign of slowing. “It’s unrelenting,” said James Nix, an analyst at the Transport and Environment (T&E) campaign group and author of the report. “Spurred on by sales of the largest SUVs, vehicles are getting wider every year.”

READ MORE UK tourists on holiday in Majorca in July and August slapped with 'water cut'

“That may not sound like a huge figure,” said Nix. “But the reality is that – unless there is reform – a cohort of large luxury SUVs and pickups will become as wide as trucks and buses.” Nix, who is based in Brussels and has two young children, said: “I have three- and five-year-old kids and we’re all about encouraging them to cycle. But I – as a man in my mid-40s – am becoming ever more intimidated by particularly large oncoming vehicles in streets in Brussels.”

Giulio Mattioli, a transport researcher at Technical University Dortmund, said: “Too much urban space is allocated to cars in cities – including free parking at the taxpayers’ expense for which little justification exists.”

“The fact that cars are getting bigger is likely to make the situation even worse,” said Mattioli. “It could also lead policymakers and planners to increase the standard measures of parking spaces, which could result in a vicious circle of ever-increasing size of cars.”

“That’s definitely one way to go because it could be budget-neutral,” said Gracia Brückmann, a transport policy researcher at the University of Bern. “[That] makes it easier to sell it to the public or taxpayer.”