East Anglia: War on gas guzzlers is ‘threat to farmers’ vehicles’

A WAR on “gas-guzzlers” threatens essential rural vehicles, a landowners’ group has warned.

A recent report on car taxation by the think-tank Centre Forum, backed by Energy and Climate Change Minister Ed Davey, would have far-reaching implications for the region’s working countryside if adopted by Government, says the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).

As motorists choose smaller, cars, the Treasury is looking for methods of dealing with the projected fall in road tax income. The proposals, nicknamed the Top Gear Tax, would replace VED with a one-off purchase tax, charging �50 per gram of CO2 emitted over 94g/km.

CLA East deputy director Tim Isaac said the move would have dire financial consequences for those in rural areas.

“If ever there was a case for rural proofing, here it is,” he said.

“These requirements significantly restrict the choice of vehicles to buy. Purchasing a Land Rover Defender under this new system would add around �10,000 to the purchase price. “Many rural businesses simply cannot afford this raid on their cash flow. The cost saving of having to pay no road tax would only be realised if the vehicle was kept for twenty years.

He added: “To Mr Davey, in his constituency of Kingston and Surbiton, these measures to reduce the numbers of thirsty super cars and ‘Chelsea Tractors’ must seem eminently sensible.

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“However, the unintended consequences of this move will pose a serious threat to the Government’s own call for growth in the rural economy. East Anglia’s farmers and other essential rural workers often need 4x4 vehicles to do their jobs safely and effectively. Vehicles frequently have to work off-road, cope with atrocious weather conditions or tow trailers.”

“It is hard to argue against a drive to make vehicles cleaner and greener, but any proposed measure must be rural proofed to prevent anyone who has to use a bigger engine from being unfairly penalized.”