Today, all eyes were on Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, as he announced the UK’s Autumn Statement and Budget.

Diesel was heavily discussed in the 2017 Budget, as was the rise of air pollution in the UK, resulting in a change in VED for new diesel cars. Regarded by many to be a U-turn in government ruling and investment; all cars that have not undergone the Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test will go up a VED band, which could cost motorists up to £500. With RDE not set to be made mandatory until September 2019, the majority of new diesels on sale today will be subject to the tax rise. However, not all new diesel engines are emitting more nitrogen oxide (NOx) in the real world, with 20 diesels currently ‘A’ or ‘A+’ rated on Emissions Analytics’ EQUA Aq Index.


“Today’s Budget announcement is a significant acknowledgement from government that not all Euro-6 diesels are as good as each other. However, this will be an unfair penalty on the small number of manufacturers that are already selling genuinely clean diesels. This will likely impact on diesel car sales and residual values, without tackling the real air quality issue caused by older, dirty diesels.”

Nick Molden, Founder and CEO of Emissions Analytics

Powering electric vehicles

With air quality in mind, the Chancellor also announced the introduction of a new £400 million Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund, which will be offered to businesses to deliver charging points all over the UK. This, added to an extra £100m investment in the existing, Plug-In Car Grant, which helps lower the list price of an electric vehicle (EV), will help motorists move to zero-emission transport and improve the UK’s air quality, as well as £40 million available for R&D in EV car charging points.

5G network and driverless cars

The Chancellor also alluded to bold new guidelines for on-road testing, which will mean that driverless cars could appear on UK roads without a human operator by 2021. According to the Treasury, the driverless car industry is set to be worth £28 billion to the UK economy in 2035, and will support 27,000 jobs. On-road testing, combined with the use of cutting-edge simulators, could help the automotive industry realise the Chancellor’s vision of seeing fully self-driving cars on UK roads by 2021.

Alongside this announcement was commitment to the next-generation of 5G networks, which, will help lay the foundations needed for driverless cars to communicate and operate safely. It was announced that £160 million will be invested in developing this cutting-edge connectivity, which will boost self-driving vehicle infrastructure and development.

This story was written by automotive PR specialists Torque Agency Group.