After an extensive consultation process, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced that they will legislate to introduce E10 petrol as the standard 95-octane petrol grade by 1 September 2021. They will also require the higher-octane 97+ 'Super' grades to remain E5 to provide protection for owners of older vehicles. This product will be designated as the ‘Protection’ grade.
The introduction of the 95-octane E10 grade and the maintenance of the Super E5 protection grade will be reviewed by the Government after 5 years to ensure they remain appropriate to the needs of the market. In relation to the E5 protection grade, such a review will examine market developments over the period. HM Government have sought to reassure FBHVC members and historic vehicle owners that, without a suitable alternative becoming available, it is highly likely the Super E5 protection grade would continue to be available.
Filling stations that stock 2 grades of petrol and supply at least one million litres of fuel in total each year, will need to ensure one product is the Super E5 protection grade. While not all filling stations meet these criteria, almost all towns across the UK will have a filling station that supplies the 'Super' grade and currently one major retailer, a national supermarket group, has committed to offer the product. The main exception to this is in certain parts of the Highlands, north and west coast of Scotland, which will be covered by an exemption process and allowed to continue to market the 95-octane E5 grade.
The FBHVC therefore recommends that all vehicles produced before 2000, and some vehicles from the early 2000s that are considered non-compatible with E10, should use the Super E5 Protection grade where the Ethanol content is limited to a maximum of 5%. To check compatibility of vehicles produced since 2000 the FBHVC recommend using the new online E10 compatibility checker: https://www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-e10-petrol
It should be noted that some Super E5 Protection grade products do not contain Ethanol as the E5 designation is for fuels containing up to 5% Ethanol. Product availability varies by manufacturer and geographical location and enthusiasts should check the situation in their location.
The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) welcomes the announcement from the Department for Transport that it does not intend to amend UK law to widen the requirement for insurance of motor vehicles to include activities on private land, which could have resulted from the decision of the European Court of Justice in respect of the 'Vnuk' case. The Vnuk incident occurred in Slovenia in 2007.
This would of course have had the effect of requiring widespread insurance of motorsport activities taking place on private land, for which motor insurance is not currently required.
The full extent of this requirement within the countries of the EU will not be clear until finalisation of revisions to the European Motor Insurance Directive, which are continuing.
However, the removal in the UK, as a result of the UK departure from the EU, of any risk to motor sport arising from high insurance premiums or, in some cases, possible refusal of insurance, comes as a relief to all of those participating in historic motor sport in the UK.
The FBHVC of course participated directly in discussions with the insurance industry and with Government when the issue first arose.
The FBHVC has also been active within FIVA in its efforts, which at the time of the UK departure from the EU were achieving a measure of success, supporting limitations of the harmful effects of the revised Motor Insurance Directive on our motor sporting friends within the EU.
The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) has announced the appointment of Nigel Elliott to the Federation's Legislation Team, in the role as Automotive Fuels Specialist, with immediate effect.
The FBHVC currently represents over 500 clubs, museums, independent and trade supporters, encompassing a collective membership of over 250,000 historic vehicle enthusiasts. As the umbrella organisation for the historic vehicle movement in the UK, the Federation seeks to work towards defending the freedoms of historic vehicle owners, whilst also addressing the environmental impact of the community's activities.
Nigel Elliott joins the Federation to take up what will be an increasingly important role in the coming years as the Federation's focus fixes squarely upon ensuring combustion engine powered historic vehicles have a place to co-exist alongside electric vehicles on the roads of the future. The Federation sees the need to assess, study and understand the impact of changing fuel demands and technologies on the historic vehicle community as critical work in the coming years.
Nigel's professional background has seen him enjoy a successful career working in engine and vehicle testing, and fuels product quality and development for a multi-national oil company. In 2012 Nigel set up a fuels quality consultancy. He is an active member of the British Standards Institute PTI/2 Liquid Fuels Committee as a co-opted expert, responsible for petrol, diesel and non-road fuel standards. Nigel was the Convener of the European Fuel Standards (CEN) Diesel Committee and a long-term UK expert member of the Petrol Committee and has been heavily involved in the development of the Biodiesel and Ethanol standards and their implementation in road fuels.
This impressive professional background is set against a passion for historic vehicles and motorsport. Nigel is a keen hill-climber and supporter of Shelsley Walsh Hill climb. A member of numerous clubs, including the MAC, HDLCC, Bugatti Owners Club, HSA and BARC, Nigel competes in a 1979 Triumph TR7-V8 4.6 litre twin Turbo modified production car. Nigel has also owned a number of classic Range Rovers over the years and currently runs a 'modern classic' 2004 Jaguar XKR convertible.
Speaking on his appointment Nigel Elliott said, "I am looking forward to helping the historic vehicle community understand the challenges that we face regarding fuel quality and supply. Historic vehicles are very dear to my heart and so bringing my specialist professional knowledge, built from 43 years of experience in the industry, I hope to contribute to the team tasked with preserving the freedoms of enthusiasts to continue to use and enjoy historic vehicles on UK roads.”
David Whale, FBHVC Chairman said, "The Federation and the historic vehicle community are increasingly going have to face the challenges of fuel supply and quality over coming years. Not only that but we will be required to put our points across to those in power with the backing of professional experience and expertise. We are looking forward to Nigel Elliott joining us and bringing those qualities to our existing team of highly capable volunteers."
The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) is sympathetic to the enormous challenges that the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) faces during the on-going pandemic. DVLA continue to receive tens of thousands of items of mail each week and the Federation believes that for a high percentage of drivers and vehicle operators the agency performs a viable and efficient service.
The FBHVC also acknowledges the efforts of the staff at Swansea in achieving the continuation of services during the current times, despite reports of a significant outbreak of Covid-19 within the Agency, with some 500 cases quoted. The impact that this outbreak will have on the DVLA providing services due to staff shortages is very understandable.
The Federation, whilst sensitive to the challenges we are all facing, has continued to work on behalf of the historic vehicle community during the pandemic. One of the key areas of the FBHVC work remains within continued dialogue with the DVLA on a range of matters on behalf of historic vehicle owners and clubs.
During the pandemic the FBHVC has been pursuing five particular policy matters of significant concern to the interests of Federation members and the community that they represent; these are broadly outlined as follows:
• Non-acceptance of 'Date of Manufacture' number marked on vehicles; • Statement of a requirement to notify DVLA when a vehicle is dismantled; • Special case V765 registrations; • Vehicles originally supplied as CKD (meaning 'Completely Knocked Down'); • Original and copied documents and new bodies on re-constructed classics;
The FBHVC work in resolving concerns around these DVLA policies was not helped by a communication received that stated in each of the five cases; "This action point is now considered closed." whilst discussions were very much still on-going. However, the Federation wishes to stress in no uncertain terms that post-pandemic these matters will be raised again with the utmost urgency and historic vehicle owners are assured that the subjects have not been put to one side.
A further example of a matter of concern currently being pursued with DVLA involves one of the Federation’s museum members, Transport Museum Wythall. The museum has held a Trade Licence for over 30 years to assist in the maintenance of their fleet, but has suddenly been told by DVLA that their application has been declined.
Denis Chick, Press Officer for Transport Museum Wythall said; "As very much a working museum, Transport Museum Wythall has a strict maintenance regime for its vehicle collection and requires a licence to ensure on-going compliance with the regulations. We pride ourselves in having the majority of our buses ‘on the button’ providing rides into the country at all of our events. DVLA effectively shut down high-level policy discussions in January 2020 due to Covid-19 so to suddenly be told that our licence has now been declined for no apparent reason is totally unacceptable - we will fight on, as Covid-19 should not be an excuse for such actions."
The FBHVC represents over 250,000 historic vehicle enthusiasts owning 1.5m historic vehicles on the DVLA database and is a movement that contributes £7.2bn to the UK economy.
Whilst all these matters remain extremely important, the FBHVC has taken the current standpoint to remain patient and understanding during the current global crisis and to work at keeping dialogue open with DVLA in readiness for when more normal operations resume. The FBHVC encourages its members to do the same.
The DVLA have requested that the FBHVC share their announcement about important changes, being introduced 01 January 2021, which affect the ability of vehicles registered in the Historic tax class to display the old style pre-1973 number plates with black background and silver or white characters.
Following the change in definition of a Historic Vehicle for vehicle tax exemption purposes in 2015, an issue was identified in the regulatory requirements for the valid display of number plates with black background and silver or white characters. This resulted in an unintended consequence where any vehicle over 40 years old and registered in the Historic Tax Class would be permitted to display old style number plates with black background and silver or white characters. This was despite the law previously requiring all vehicles first registered after 01 January 1973 to only display the yellow and white number plates with black characters.
As this was never the intention, DVLA have sought to rectify this through a legal correction, which will shortly be implemented. The change seeks to prevent any vehicle constructed after 01 January 1980 from the ability to display the number plates with black background and silver or white characters despite being recorded in the DVLA’s Historic tax class. Those vehicles with a construction date prior to 1 January 1980 will continue to be able to legally display number plates with black background and silver or white characters to avoid any undue costs of replacement.
Also note that from 01 January 2021 it will no longer be permissible to fix a new number plate displaying a Euro symbol. Number plates already fixed to vehicles are unaffected. DVLA will also be introducing a new British Standard for number plates produced from 01 September 2021, which will mean all current style number plates that are first fixed to a vehicle from that date must meet the technical requirements contained in that standard.
The UK Government has revealed plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 followed by the same sanctions being placed on all hybrid vehicles five years later in 2035. The move is part of the UK Government’s £12 billion strategy for stimulating green industry and quite naturally has caused huge concern within the motor industry. The UK Government has promised a £1.3 billion investment in establishing a charging infrastructure across the country to service the demands of the new electric vehicles. The move suggests that Government policy will still support the use of private vehicles as a mode of daily transport, but not when they are required to be powered by fossil fuels.
The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) must consider the implications of this policy on the historic vehicle movement from the point of view of our need to focus solely on protecting the freedoms to use heritage transport on the UK’s roads, unhindered. The Federation is not concerning itself with debating the 'for and against' arguments around certain technologies and power sources for new vehicles used purely for commuting and functional transportation purposes.
Indeed, it may well be that in a couple of decade’s time, the early Nissan Leaf and Tesla models for example will be joining the ranks of historically important vehicles and be referred to as 'classic cars'.
The Federation recognises there are already a significant number of electric vehicles represented within the historic vehicle community and some examples of these were displayed on the 'Village Green' area of the NEC Classic Motor Show in 2019 on the FBHVC stand. The exhibits included a 1912 Baker Electric Car, a 1974 Zagato Zele and a 1940 Moteur Électrique created by the French manufacturer Lucien Rosengart as a direct replacement for the Austin 7 engine he used in the cars built under license in Paris. In the early part of the twentieth century electric vehicles made up a larger proportion of the total vehicles on the road than they do today. In 1900, 20 per cent of cars on the roads in the USA were electric and iconic manufacturers such as Studebaker actually entered the market initially building electric vehicles. So, we must recognise that electric vehicles have been as much a part of the history and heritage of road transport as they are its future.
The main focus points of the Federation’s activities in light of the announcement of the intended 2030 ban on the sale of new ICE vehicles will be limited to:
a) Ensuring the ban on new vehicles does not extend to restrictions on the use of pre-existing vehicles powered by fossil fuels. In particular, historic vehicles over 30 years old and 'future historic vehicles' yet to reach the rolling 30-year classification of historic; b) Monitoring the effects of changing mainstream consumer demand for petrol and diesel on the accessibility and affordability of fuel supplies for vehicles requiring fossil fuels; c) Lobbying for the protection of fossil fuel supplies long into the future to service historic vehicles.
The Federation urges caution amongst the historic vehicle community not to 'panic' that historic vehicles are in some way about to be made obsolete or unusable as a result of the announcement of these intended UK Government bans. As the 2020 National Historic Vehicle Survey has revealed, there are more than 1.5 million historic vehicles registered in the UK and therefore they represent a material element of our National Heritage. Additionally, the historic vehicle sector contributes a huge £7.2 billion to the UK economy through highly skilled jobs that will be a vital part of the regeneration of the UK’s economy post-pandemic and post-Brexit.
Despite that huge financial input into the health of our country, the National Historic Vehicle Survey also shows us that the use of historic vehicles only contributes to 0.2% of the total annual miles driven in the UK. That amount of road use is very small in the overall aim to reduce carbon emissions to levels safe for the health and future of the planet. Nonetheless, the Federation recently appointed an Environmental Director on our board, tasked specifically with monitoring, offsetting and measuring the carbon output of the historic vehicle movement.
The strength in numbers that the historic vehicle community enjoys will help to ensure that we cannot be ignored or hindered without significant financial implications for the country. If we work together as a sector to encourage continued health, growth and skills for the future then the movement stands every chance of survival and the future of historic vehicles powered by internal combustion engines will be secured, regardless of what technology has in store for the future of road transport.
To read the facts behind why the Historic Vehicle community is part of the answer to build the UK economy into the future and why the sector deserves a bright future, you can read the National Historic Vehicle Survey results from 2020 online now at https://www.fbhvc.co.uk
About the FBHVC:
The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) exists to uphold the freedom to use historic vehicles on the road. It does this by representing the interests of owners of such vehicles to politicians, government officials, and legislators both in the UK and (through the Federation Internationale des Vehicules Anciens) in Europe. There are over 540 subscriber organisations representing a total membership of over 250,000 in addition to individual and trade supporters. All our directors operate in a voluntary capacity supported by our secretary.
Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs Ltd, PO Box 295, Upminster, Essex, RM14 9DG