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November 2020 News Roundup

cartoon open envelope on green background

Welcome to the November 2020 edition of the PassMeFast news roundup. This month, we’ll start with the topic on everyone’s lips—the end of lockdown—and see what it means for drivers. Other big stories this month include the 2030 ban on diesel and petrol cars, the revelation of the UK’s most expensive city for car insurance, and a potential pilot scheme for driving tests in supermarkets. As always, we’ll finish with our Highway Code tip of the month. Let’s get to it!


Second lockdown ending: what does it mean for drivers?

Mobile phone displaying "Stay at home" advice on the official UK government website, GOV.UK
Image source: Annie Spratt via Unsplash

Just after posting last month’s news roundup, the government announced a second national lockdown. Despite initial fears that this would last for an extended period, however, these restrictions are set to end this Wednesday. So, what can drivers expect?

First off: the impact on learner drivers. The second national lockdown halted all lessons and tests in England. However, the DVSA announced that training and testing could resume from the 3rd December onwards.

Despite this, there are fears that the new, tougher tier system could throw a spanner into the works. Despite media organisations such as the Daily Mirror having already announced that lessons can continue across all tiers, the DVSA tweeted this message:

So, some doubt still remains as to whether lessons and tests really can go ahead. For other drivers, however, things are clearer. With the end of lockdown, it is no longer required to stay at home whenever possible. This means, in theory, a greater degree of freedom as to where you can travel.

Nonetheless, the government continues to discourage travel tiers in 2 and 3, which represent the vast majority of England. In these areas, you should not share a vehicle with those outside of your household or bubble. Those in tier 3 specifically should only drive to local recreational areas. In the more liberal tier 1, meanwhile, the rule of six applies inside vehicles, and there are few restrictions on where you can or can’t drive.


Petrol and diesel car ban brought forward to 2030

A fuel pump with the number "3", with separate pumps for "Regular", "Mid Grade", "Premium" and "Diesel" fuels, the first three of which are out of order, and a hand reaching for diesel fuel
Image source: Ph B (via Unsplash)

Back in 2017, a ban on petrol and diesel cars was announced, and was set to come into force in 2040. Earlier this year, that date was brought forward by five years. This month, we’ve seen another tightening of the time frame, with the ban now scheduled for 2030.

The move came as the Prime Minister announced his ten-point plan for a ‘green industrial revolution’. Though the wide-reaching scheme included plans ranging from tree-planting to nuclear power, the ban on new sales of petrol and diesel cars and vans attracted most of the column inches.

To help smooth the transition, the government has pledged to invest £1.3bn in electric vehicle charging points, helping to grow a network that has already expanded from 1,537 public charging points in 2011 to 35,537 in 2020. Meanwhile, buyers will be offered grants totalling £582m to encourage purchases of electric cars.

Despite the incentives, polling has shown than 59% of prospective car buyers disagree with the ban, while 29% were unsure which cars could legally be sold from 2030 onwards. Let us know your thoughts on the move in the comments.


Liverpool found to have UK’s most expensive insurance

Waterfront at Liverpool's Albert Dock
Image source: Marcus Cramer (via Unsplash)

We all know that there are plenty of different factors that can affect the price of your premiums. Some of these are within your control, from the provider you choose to the type of cover you opt for, and you can check for these when comparing insurance.

One big factor that we generally can’t alter so easily, however, is where we live. Unfortunately, with risk levels varying across the country, your postcode could be the reason for a sky-high quote. Now, it’s been revealed that the city that suffers the most with high insurance prices is Liverpool.

A full ranking of 60 UK cities compiled by Book My Garage found that Liverpudlians were saddled with an average insurance cost of £884.51. That’s almost triple that of the cheapest city, Aberdeen, where residents paid just £309.14.

10 MOST EXPENSIVE CITIES FOR CAR INSURANCE

  1. Liverpool — £884.51
  2. Manchester — £848.97
  3. Birmingham — £738.67
  4. Bradford — £736.77
  5. London — £725.60
  6. Sheffield — £713.03
  7. Nottingham — £709.44
  8. Salford — £708.68
  9. Belfast — £699.13
  10. Preston — £640.16
10 CHEAPEST CITIES FOR CAR INSURANCE

  1. Aberdeen — £309.14
  2. Perth — £324.64
  3. Truro — £325.20
  4. Inverness — £339.42
  5. Winchester — £347.10
  6. Swansea — £347.59
  7. Dundee — £354.28
  8. Hereford — £360.00
  9. Stirling — £373.52
  10. Edinburgh — £374.83

It’s not too much of a shock to see many smaller cities with comparatively cheaper insurance, while major urban areas such as Manchester and Birmingham have some of the priciest in the UK. It may, however, come as a shock to see the busiest city in the country, London, only placing fifth for most expensive premiums.

If you’re looking for ways to save, be sure to check out our driving insurance section, with advice on everything from black box (telematics) policies through to the cheapest cars to insure for young drivers.


Popping to the supermarket… for a driving test?

Facade of a Morrisons supermarket in London
Image source: Étienne Godiard (via Unsplash)

At PassMeFast, we’ve written guides to all of the practical test centres we cover. With over 200 so far, we’ve seen all kinds of locations serve as the starting point for driving tests, from converted houses to scout huts and from hotels to fire stations. Now, the DVSA is proposing a shift to supermarkets.

DVSA Chief Executive Gareth Llewellyn claimed that the current system, in which the DVSA owns dedicated test centres in most large towns and cities, was proving increasingly costly every year. Instead, he floated the idea of operating driving tests from supermarkets using a ‘meet and greet’ system.

Thus far, there have been no studies conducted into the feasibility of the option, with Llewellyn merely saying that the agency had considered it on a ‘pilot basis’. He also noted that other similar locations, such as leisure centres, may be used in the event of a move to ‘meet and greet.’

The advantages of such a move would include a far larger number of car parking spaces than most test centres, as well as the cost savings from reducing the number of centres on leaseholds. This could in turn help to keep down the cost of the practical test, which has stayed at £62 for the past ten years.



Highway Code tip of the month

Double yellow lines on road next to pavement
Image source: Grooveland Designs (via Unsplash)

We’re focusing on just one rule in the Highway Code for this month’s tip: rule 238. As the photo above may indicate, this rule concerns parking and waiting on yellow lines.

  • You must not park or wait on yellow lines during their times of operation, which will be shown on nearby time plates.
  • If you see double yellow lines, you must not park or wait there at any time, even if there are no signs.
  • At school entrance markings, you may not wait, park or set down and pick up passengers where signs indicate that stopping is prohibited.

That completes this month’s roundup! Don’t forget that today is your last day to get 10% off all driving courses with our Black Friday offer. Book online now or call the team on 0333 123 4949, and use our discount code BLACKFRIDAY to save!

By Andy Boardman

Andy has been part of the PassMeFast Blog team from the very beginning. He'll provide you with plenty of useful motoring advice, helping you to get the most out of every trip. When he's not writing here, you're most likely to find Andy on the way to his next destination.

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