2019 Review

2019 Review

As 2019 comes to a close, it’s time to look back over some of the important events which have happened over the last 12 months and which will continue to challenge our industry as we move into the New Year.

Alternatively fuelled vehicles, including both pure and hybrid electric vehicles (commonly referred to as EV’s), have now become an integral part of the UK’s automobile industry. This year more electric vehicles have come onto the market and manufacturers have also announced the launch of multiple new EV models in 2020.

The number of charging points available to drivers of EVs has also increased considerably this year, with many charging points now available in supermarket car parks, allowing drivers to charge up their batteries whilst shopping for their groceries.

The capital already had a non-charging low emission zone covering most of Greater London, but tighter emission standards were introduced for central London from 8 April 2019 to help tackle the capital’s toxic air levels.

Under the new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) owners of vehicles that don’t meet the new stricter emissions standards and still wish to drive within the ULEZ need to pay a daily charge. This zone is set to be expanded to cover most of Greater London from 25 October 2021.

In July the UK Government confirmed the long-awaited response to its review of WLTP and company car tax, announcing a freeze on company car tax as well as a zero Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) rate for fully electric vehicles.

The announcement gave clarity to fleet managers and company car drivers, which had been long overdue. Those drivers with vehicles registered before 6 April 2020 will see their company car tax bands frozen at the 2020/21 rates until 2022/23.  Those registering new cars after 6 April 2020 will also be rewarded with a 2% tax cut. And for those choosing to drive a pure electric vehicle, in 2020/21 they will pay no BIK in an attempt to boost sales of emission free cars.

The HM Treasury has created two new BIK tables, which can be seen below. From 2023/24, fleets will have one BIK tax table again as the rates are realigned.

Whilst 2018 was a milestone year for WLTP and passenger cars, 2019 was the year that changes in regards to LCV WLTP came into effect.

From September 2019, all newly registered LCVs nowl have an NEDC-b CO2 figure applied. This figure is the combined NEDC and WLTP, much the same as the NEDC correlated figure which has been applied for cars since September 2018.  This is the figure that will now be used until April 2021, when full LCV WLTP comes in to effect.


It has now been more than three years since the UK voted to leave the EU, though to many it will feel like decades.

Following multiple extensions to the withdrawal date and amid relentless political drama, Britain’s default position now is to leave the EU on 31 January 2020 with or without a deal.  After winning a majority of 86 seats at the general elections on 12 December 2019, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is now adamant that the UK will definitely be leaving the EU on this date.

For the UK fleet industry, this year is ending much the same as it began, with uncertainty over future company car tax rates.

The new BIK tables were expected to be rubber stamped in the Autumn Budget, ahead of coming into force from April 2020 but the continuing deadlock over Brexit put the new company car tax rates and the required legislation on hold, after the Government decided to go to the polls 12 December.

Fleet decision-makers are now hoping that the industry will finally receive clarity from the Conservative Government on this and a range of other issues impacting fleet operations in 2020.