Regulations

United Kingdom

Low emission rules

In April 2019, London got a new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which replaced the previous T-charge scheme. It currently applies to Central London and will be extended to all of inner London in 2021. But in 2020, the policy could be adopted around other parts of the country.

Drivers need to know the new rules of the road.

Birmingham will be introducing its own scheme in July and a Leeds scheme was expected to start in January but has been delayed.

Other cities interested include Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Newcastle, Derby and Edinburgh.

If a vehicle doesn’t meet ULEZ emission standards, the driver will have to pay a charge to drive in the defined area.

The ban affects older diesel cars more heavily.

CHECK YOUR CAR

Thailand

Used car import ban

Thailand is set to ban the import of personal used cars, effective from Dec 10, in a bid to stop smuggling and curb pollution.

Each importer must proceed with import plans under existing rules until Dec 9. For any import violations after Dec 10, the Customs Department will have the right to seize and destroy illicit vehicles.

Adul Chotinisakorn, director-general of the Foreign Trade Department, said the Commerce Ministry made an official announcement after the cabinet approved the measure on May 7 and ministerial regulations were published in the Royal Gazette on June 13.

“The new rules are meant to control emissions from vehicles and for road safety,” Mr Adul said.

Existing regulations have loopholes for smuggling cases; for example, importers declare finished car imports as vehicle parts to pay less customs duties.

At present, cars are subjected to an 80% import tax while parts and components enjoy 30% duties.

In addition, only new cars are legally imported for commercial purposes, while used cars for sale are prohibited.

The Customs Department reported that personal used car imports in 2018 totalled at 100 units. In actuality, there were roughly 1,000 cases of smuggled cars imported for the period and 95% of those were luxurious cars and supercars.

According to the department, smugglers declared the cars as semi knocked-down units, instead of finished cars or completely built-up ones to avoid the high tax payment.

Some cases are related to money laundering and narcotics and polices and officials had coordinated with the Foreign Trade Department to ask for import details to be submitted.

Mr Adul said the department improved the regulations to facilitate trade and cut red tape in line with the government policy and has been working with 15 related agencies towards this since 2015.

The new rules exempt imports for special purposes such as government and diplomatic use, R&D, public charity, reassembly and re-export and exhibitions.

Used tractors, trailers, ambulances and fire trucks are allowed to be imported, but all exemption cases have to request permission form the relevant ministries, such as Commerce, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Industry and Defence.

The import violations will have penalties under the Export And Import Of Goods Act of 1979.

Brunei

Brunei will be introducing a fuel economy regulation to reduce the country’s carbon dioxide emissions and fuel subsidies.

Minister of Energy, Manpower and Industry Hj Mat Suny said they will work with the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications to come out with the regulation that is expected to be launched in 2023.

“It will be enforced in stages. The first phase will be enforced in 2025 and the second phase in 2030,” said the minister during Thursday’s Legislative Council meeting.

He added that the sultanate plans to introduce a pilot project to have at least 10 percent of electric vehicles by 2035.

Hj Mat Suny revealed that Brunei has saved more than 1.4 million Brunei dollars (1.04 million U.S. dollars) in subsidies and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 4,361 metric tons following the introduction of hybrid vehicles and fuel-efficient vehicles.

As many as 1,960 fuel-efficient and hybrid cars have been registered in Brunei since 2012, he said.

“The savings in subsidies and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions will definitely provide a positive effect on the economy and the environment,” he added.

Brunei’s Land Transport Department places the number of registered vehicles in the country at 148,000 as of 2014, or around one vehicle for every 2.8 Bruneians. The department also notes that car ownership in the sultanate grows at a rate of 9 percent per year.