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Road Tax: Now you see it, now you don’t


As from this morning, drivers in the United Kingdom have a clearer view of the road. Gone is the round tax disc that motorists have had to display for the past ninety years. Instead, authorities will now rely on roadside cameras to read number plates and check with the national database. Police officers can check that a car is insured and taxed just by feeding the licence number into the computer.

This is a welcome move as far as I can see. The old tax disk has been a familiar part of my life and I cannot say I am sorry to see it go. It was always an ugly addition to the windscreen and did nothing the all-round visibility.  I don’t get bouts of nostalgia over such things and am ever ready for a bit of change.

Some pundits fear that innocent motorists will be prosecuted in error because of camera misreading of number plates. But we will have to wait to see if this is just another of these scare stories that happen whenever something like this changes. 

My Nissan Leaf is zero-rated for tax in any case. But I still had to apply for and display the free tax disc. Now the expansive windscreen of the Leaf is unadorned and all the better for it. It might even make parking the car on the nearside just that little bit easier.