Untaxed: More than 700,000 vehicles on UK roads illegally

An extra 85,000 unlicensed vehicles are being driven on UK roads compared with two years ago, official figures show.

Statistics published by the Department for Transport shows an estimated 719,000 vehicles are being used despite their vehicle excise duty (VED) not being paid.

This represents 1.8% of vehicles, up from 1.6% in 2019 when the total was 634,000.

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Motorcycles were excluded from the most recent research.

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Some 45% of vehicles being used without VED have been untaxed for more than two months, suggesting there is a persistent minority of motorists who are intentionally not taxing their vehicles.

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Lost revenue from non-payment of VED has soared since the abolition of the paper tax disc in October 2014.

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Motors with no Vehicle Excise Duty can be impounded.

Figures for Britain show the potential total has risen from £35 million in 2013/14 to £113 million in 2021/22.

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Abolishing the paper disc removed the visual in-vehicle reminder of the expiry date for VED, although notifications are sent by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

The Government said at the time that the decision would eventually save the DVLA about £7 million a year.

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Every vehicle registered in the UK must be taxed if it is driven or parked on a public road. The amount varies based on a vehicle’s CO2 emissions.

Failing to pay typically leads to an £80 fine, although if a case goes to court the maximum penalty is £1,000.

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DVLA chief executive Julie Lennard said: “We work hard to drive down vehicle tax evasion and the vast majority of motorists are doing the right thing with over 98% of vehicles on the road taxed correctly."

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