Guernsey motor fees changes 'token gesture' say traders

Protest against width and emissions tax before the Guernsey States meeting in December
Image caption About 400 people protested last month and later the same day a decision on the charges was delayed

Changes to plans for width and emissions charges for vehicles are a "token gesture" according to the Guernsey Motor Trades Association.

The width duty would apply to fewer vehicles under the Environment Department plans.

In a statement, the association said it was "no more than a token gesture to get something passed, rather than bringing a proper workable strategy".

Environment Minister Yvonne Burford said it was based on public feedback.

The charges, payable when a vehicle is first registered in the island, are part of the transport strategy, approved by the States in May.

Width of car Latest proposals Previous plan
Up to 1600m £400 subsidy £600 subsidy
1601-1750mm No duty or subsidy No duty or subsidy
1751-1800mm No duty or subsidy £600 duty
1801-1825mm £600 duty £1,200 duty
1826-1850mm £1,000 duty £1,200 duty
1851-1875mm £1,400 duty £1,800 duty
1876-1900mm £1,800 duty £1,800 duty
1901 and over £2,400 duty £2,400 duty
CO2 emissions g/km Latest proposals Previous plan
Electric vehicles £1,000 subsidy £1,000 subsidy
Up to 85 £400 subsidy £400 subsidy
86-90 No duty or subsidy £400 subsidy
91-100 No duty or subsidy No duty or subsidy
101-110 No duty or subsidy No duty or subsidy
111-120 No duty or subsidy No duty or subsidy
121-130 £200 duty £400 duty
131-140 £400 duty £800 duty
141-150 £800 duty £800 duty
151-165 £1,200 duty £1,200 duty
166-185 £1,600 duty £1,600 duty
186-200 £2,000 duty £2,000 duty
201-225 £2,400 duty £2,400 duty
226-255 £2,800 duty £2,800 duty
256 and over £3,200 duty £3,200 duty

The association (GMTA) described the changes as "disjointed", "unworkable" and a move of "desperation".

Deputy Burford said the changes followed feedback from the public and motor traders and denied they had been motivated by desperation.

She said one of the main complaints was the charges applied to seven-seat cars.

Image caption During a public consultation on the transport strategy the number of large cars was a common issue

Deputy Burford said: "Any awful lot more of the family-sized vehicles now fall into the duty free band.

"Most people who responded to our survey in the transport strategy felt there were too many large cars on the island."

The GMTA is "against any form of width tax" and believes an emission tax should cover all vehicles rather than just those that produce higher levels.

The association said reducing charges for imported used vehicles meant second-hand vehicles may face fewer charges than more modern cars with cleaner engines.

It believes the whole strategy needs to "go back to the drawing board" and it has committed to continue its campaign to have the proposals thrown out including a protest before the January States meeting, when the motor charges are due to be debated.

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