New driving laws and charges coming in 2023


From ultra-low emission zones to pavement parking and 20mph limits to car tax increases, drivers are facing a barrage of increased costs and new motoring laws to contend with this year.

Here we take a look at what UK drivers can expect in the coming months of 2023.

New driving laws and charges for 2023New driving laws and charges coming your way for 2023  (Photo:

ULEZ and other Clean Air Zones Portsmouth, Bristol, Oxford and others

Starting from 29 August, 2023, London's Ultra Low Emission Zone will be extended to cover all 33 boroughs in the city. London Mayor Sadiq Khan claims the policy is aimed at improving air quality and reducing pollution, and drivers of older cars that do not meet the minimum emission standards will be hit with a daily charge of £12.50.

It’s not just London where drivers with older cars will be penalised, Birmingham in the Midlands, Bristol in the South West, along with Oxford, Manchester, Portsmouth Tyneside, and Sheffield are among those that have also introduced similar clean air schemes.

Sheffield is set to introduce a Class C zone on February 27, 2023, which will cover buses, coaches, taxis, private hire vehicles, heavy goods vehicles, vans, and minibuses – but not private cars at present – like the scheme in Portsmouth. The charge for non-compliant vehicles will be between £10 and £50 per day.

From June 1, 2023, drivers of cars in Glasgow that do not comply with the Low Emission Zone regulations could be slapped with a £60 fine. Exemptions will apply to residents in these zones until June 2024.

Transport for London (TfL) Scrappage Scheme

A smoky car could be forced to pay the London ULEZ but could the owner get money from the London Scrappage Scheme?

A smoky car could be forced to pay the London ULEZ but could the owner get money from the London Scrappage Scheme?  (Credit:

Londoners who receive certain disability and means-tested benefits will be able to apply for the car and motorcycle scrappage scheme that has been in place since January 20, 2023.

The London ULEZ Scrappage Scheme also includes grants as well as annual bus and tram passes. Sole traders, micro-businesses with ten or fewer employees, and charities are also awarded a separate van and minibus scrappage scheme.

Fuel duty rates going up?

UK fuel duty rates were temporarily cut by 5p for one year amid the cost of living crisis. However, this is due to end on March 23, 2023, and the Office for Budget Responsibility has predicted a 12p per litre increase in duty. More information is expected to be discussed during the Spring Budget on March 15 on how fuel prices will hit drivers.

Pavement parking ban

Parking on pavements is dangerous and can put pedestrians at risk - but is it illegal where you are? Parking on pavements is dangerous and can put pedestrians at risk - but is it illegal where you are? (Photo Pete Barden)

To help protect pedestrians by keeping cars off the pavement, Scotland was the first country in the UK to ban pavement parking by passing the Transport (Scotland) Bill in 2019. The nationwide ban is expected to come into full effect in 2023, after being delayed in 2021.

In England, pavement parking is banned in London but elsewhere there are no specific laws banning it, but there are other laws that can be applied against dangerous drivers who block pavements.

20mph speed limits

From September 17, 2023, motorists in Wales can expect to see speed limits on most restricted roads reduced from 30pmh to 20mph.

This is designed to improve safety in residential and pedestrian areas. Wales will be one of the first countries in the world to implement such a cap on roads shared by both pedestrians and cyclists. Cardiff, Pembrokeshire, and Monmouthshire have already seen some roads with this restriction from July 2021 to May 2022.

Other cities such as London also have wide use of 20mph limits. Drivers can click this link to find out how far over the limit may attract a speeding ticket in 20mph zones across the UK.

Number plate changes

New licence plates will be released for newly registered cars in the UK this year. New vehicles will be registered under the "23" number plate from March, while September will see a "73" plate produced. You can find out more about how registration plates are labelled here.

Road tax will go up in April

With drivers already hit by the cost of living crisis – and the prospect of fuel duty increasing – road tax (VED) will be going up on April 1 2023. We should find out the exact figures of how much road tax is going up on March 15 in the Spring Budget.  

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Author: Pete Barden:

Twitter: @pete_barden

Pete Barden is a qualified journalist who has written and produced for publications including The Sun (, New Statesman Media Group, Whatcar? ( Stuff Magazine (, Fastcar Magazine (, Maxim Magazine and UK broadcast stations within the Heart network (Formerly GCAP). Pete specialises in motoring and travel content, along with news and production roles. You can find out more about Pete Barden on LinkedIn.

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