SORN FACES AXE AF­TER EU RUL­ING

Gov­ern­ment weighs up whether clas­sics – whether in use or not – will re­quire in­surance, fol­low­ing a con­tro­ver­sial court rul­ing

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week -

las­sic own­ers could be forced to in­sure their cars even when they aren’t on the road fol­low­ing a re­cent Euro­pean court rul­ing.

The De­part­ment for Trans­port has launched a con­sul­ta­tion into how it should in­cor­po­rate the out­come of a rul­ing by the Euro­pean Court of Jus­tice. This fell in favour of Dami­jan Vnuk, a Slove­nian man who was in­jured when he was knocked off a lad­der by a trailer at­tached to a trac­tor in a barn. The DfT is now con­sid­er­ing whether all ve­hi­cles off the road will need to be in­sured, which would spell the end of ve­hi­cles stored with Statu­tory Off Road No­ti­fi­ca­tions not need­ing cover.

Par­lia­men­tary Un­der Sec­re­tary of State for Trans­port, Andrew Jones MP, says that even though the UK is due to leave the EU it still has to im­ple­ment its leg­is­la­tion un­til a Brexit deal comes into ef­fect, al­though it is up to Par­lia­ment how it in­ter­prets it.

He says: ‘ We were dis­ap­pointed with the judg­ment which in­ter­preted the Mo­tor In­surance Di­rec­tive in a way that nei­ther we, nor many of our coun­ter­parts C across Europe, ex­pected or de­sired. Nonethe­less, it is an in­ter­pre­ta­tion that we must, by law, recog­nise and take ac­count of in de­vel­op­ing the leg­isla­tive frame­work gov­ern­ing mo­tor in­surance in Great Bri­tain.

‘ We can un­der­stand the prin­ci­ple of en­sur­ing that vic­tims of mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents have pro­tec­tion, and we share that as­pi­ra­tion. But we have se­ri­ous mis­giv­ings about the ex­tent to which the Vnuk judg­ment has broad­ened the scope of the Di­rec­tive.’

Un­der the cur­rent sys­tem clas­sic own­ers don’t have to in­sure their car or pay road tax when a car is reg­is­tered as SORN with the DVLA. Changes to the law in 2013 meant that ve­hi­cles which are taxed – even His­toric Ve­hi­cles for which own­ers don’t pay for tax – must be in­sured even when they’re off the road. But un­less the Gov­ern­ment changes its in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the Mo­tor In­surance Di­rec­tive then cars that are off the road and classed as SORN will have to be cov­ered too.

Seper­ately, a pe­ti­tion has also been set up call­ing for the Gov­ern­ment to ex­empt ve­hi­cles be­ing used off-road for mo­tor­sport be­ing af­fected. At the time of go­ing to press, more than 1300 peo­ple had signed it.

Pe­ti­tion cre­ator, Joan Westbrook says: ‘The EU is look­ing at chang­ing the cur­rent rules at the mo­ment as a re­sult of this judg­ment. The UK Gov­ern­ment must do all it can to pre­vent off road mo­tor sports from be­ing af­fected.’ CCW

The Fed­er­a­tion of Bri­tish His­toric Ve­hi­cle Clubs con­firmed that it is cur­rently look­ing into how own­ers of clas­sic cars may af­fected. Com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor Ge­off Lan­caster says: ‘Our leg­is­la­tion team is con­sid­er­ing the con­sul­ta­tion and will co­or­di­nate our re­sponse in the due time.’ David Simis­ter

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