Birmingham Clean Air Zone goes live
On 1 June 2021, Birmingham began operating its Clean Air Zone (CAZ), which was originally intended to go live in 2020 but was delayed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Birmingham City Council introduced the CAZ through a ‘soft launch’ of the scheme; during the first two weeks, vehicle operators were not required to pay the daily fee and Birmingham City Council did not pursue enforcement; however, from 14 June 2021, the daily fee applied.
The CAZ covers all roads within the A4540 Middleway Ring Road (but not the Ring Road itself) and operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The charges will be applied daily (from midnight to midnight). A non-compliant vehicle driving in the CAZ will pay once for the day, then may drive into, around and out of the CAZ during that day without incurring any additional charges.
The Class D Clean Air Zone applies to all vehicles that do not meet the minimum emissions standards of Euro 6/VI for diesel and Euro 4 for petrol.
The charges for vehicles that do not meet the minimum emission standards are £8 for cars, taxi, minibuses and light commercial vehicles, and £50 for coaches, buses and HGVs.
A £10m Heavy Duty Vehicle (HDV) Fund has been established to support small businesses.
Firing and rehiring pitfalls
Have you recently made any changes, or variations to your employees’ terms and conditions, perhaps because of the pandemic? Doing this is not always as straightforward as it seems. Sometimes the employees agree, but if they do not, an employer will often give notice to end the contract and offer a new contract under the new terms. This is sometimes referred to as ‘firing and rehiring’. If as an employer you have a sound business reason for making the change, the dismissal is not likely to be unfair, but you have to have gone through the correct procedure before dismissing. This has become somewhat of a hot topic recently. and if it’s something you have done or are thinking of doing, we urge you to ask for advice first.
OCRS reports delayed
DVSA has recently issued an announcement stating that work on the Transport Office Portal (TOP) is entering the testing phase. The implications of this are that Operator Compliance Risk Score (OCRS) customer reports will be available in late summer, a few weeks later than planned. In the announcement, the DVSA apologises for the inconvenience. It did not give a reason for the delay, but said it will allow quicker future development. Until then, operators can still access the following TOP services:
Change of address
Operators of authorised testing facilities (ATFs) that wish to notify DVSA of changes to their ATF in form DVSA 785, such as of site manager, operating hours or vehicle classes, or of physical site changes, can now do so by e-mail. The form (which is available via www.is.gd/wavafi) should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applicants should attach any documents required to support the application.
Tacho card admin
Following changes allowing company tachograph card transactions to be administered online, DVSA has said that most driver tachograph card transactions can now also be completed online too. Drivers can apply for their first GB digital tachograph card, renew a card if it is expiring within 90 days and replace a lost or stolen card. Fees are £32 for the first GB driver digital tachograph card, the same to change an EU, EEA or Northern Ireland tachograph card to a GB tachograph card, and £19 to renew an expired card or replace a lost or stolen one. In order to use the service, a driver will need a GB photocard driving licence, his or her driving licence number and a credit or debit card. The tachograph card will be sent to the address on the driving licence. The online portal does not allow a driver to report a faulty, lost or damaged tachograph card. That should be done by ringing DVLA on 0300 790 6109; a new card must be applied for within seven days.encounter reportvehicle test historytop up pre-funded accounts (PFA)book an annual test at a goods vehicle test station.