SORN FACES AXE AFTER EU RULING
Government weighs up whether classics – whether in use or not – will require insurance, following a controversial court ruling
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