Driving law changes will end 'anti-motorist campaign' of 20mph speed limits and 'overzealous' fines

Cars in traffic

The Government said it would always "back drivers"

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 17/10/2023

- 10:27

Some of the major policy changes will be introduced next year

The Transport Secretary has unveiled proposals to make sure drivers up and down the UK are treated fairly and benefit “from the journeys that matter the most”.

Many drivers have been calling on the Government to make motoring cheaper and fairer amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.

A number of new factors have been hammering drivers including the expansion of the Ulez, new Clean Air Zones, a dramatic spike in the price of car insurance and rising fuel costs.

Speaking in Parliament, Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the Government was working to make motoring easier for drivers as well as sticking to existing net zero plans.

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The MP for the Forest of Dean said the Government was “backing Britain’s drivers” and “slamming the brakes on anti-car policies”.

He explained that the UK had cut emissions faster than any G7 country and pledged a decarbonised transport sector by 2050.

The Zero Emission Vehicle mandate was formally announced which has been described as “world leading”.

Manufacturers will now meet minimum targets of cleaner car production – starting with 22 per cent next year and reaching 80 per cent by 2030.

The ZEV mandate was unveiled even after the Prime Minister announced a delay to the 2030 deadline to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans.

Rishi Sunak said he was moving the net zero pledge back to 2035 to allow for motorists to benefit from upfront electric vehicle prices to drop and continue the rollout of the EV charging network.

Mark Harper said the ZEV mandate would inspire investment, protect existing jobs and pave the way for new jobs in the future.

He pointed to major car brands like BMW, Stellantis and Tata all expanding EV operations around the UK, including Oxford and Merseyside.

The second major point for an overhaul of the transport network is the Plan for Drivers which aims to protect motorists and prevent them from being “punished” and “vilified”.

The Transport Secretary said: “The Mayor of London’s expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone is forcing drivers to sell up or pay hefty daily fines.

“Overzealous enforcement practices – from yellow box junctions to blanket 20 mile an hour zones – are turning drivers into cash cows for councils.

“And measures to overly restrict where and when people travel are already being planned in places like Oxfordshire. My message to councils is simple: this anti-motorist campaign has run out of road.”

He added that “common sense” would be injected into enforcement including only having 20mph speed limit roads if they have local support, not a “blanket norm” like Wales.

Other proposals include only having low traffic neighbourhoods if they are backed by the public and ensuring that drivers can travel as much as they want.


20mph speed limit

Wales changes laws to ensure almost all speed limits on restricted roads are 20mph


Mark Harper also presented Parliament with the plan for Network North after Rishi Sunak scrapped the development of HS2, opting instead to provide funding for areas across England, Scotland and Wales.

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