British motorists have been saved from a £50 a year insurance rise after ministers scrapped “insane” EU laws that would have increased premiums to ride on lawnmowers, tractors, mobility scooters and golf buggies.
The so-called Vnuk motor insurance law would have seen homeowners facing prosecution for driving any “vehicle” on their property or in public without insurance.
But, Grant Shapps has announced that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union has meant drivers will side step the price increase.
Had the EU law been implemented it would have meant the insurance industry would have been liable for almost £2 billion in extra costs.
The increase would inevitably have been passed onto customers, with insurance premiums rising by an estimated £50 a year for 25 million people.
The European Court of Justice(ECJ) ruled in 2014 that insurance must apply to off-road vehicles after Damijan Vnuk, a Slovenian, was knocked off a ladder by a reversing tractor that was being driven on private farmland.
When Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson condemned the ruling as “undemocratic law-making” that will impose an “insane” and “pointless” financial burden on millions of people.
Announcing the move, the Transport Secretary, said: “We have always disagreed with this over-the-top law that would only do one thing – hit the pockets of hard-working people up and down the country with an unnecessary hike in their car insurance. I am delighted to announce that we no longer need to implement it.
“Scrapping this rule would save the country billions of pounds and is part of a new and prosperous future for the UK outside the EU – a future in which we set our own rules and regulations.”
As well as the likely financial burden on British road-users, the Vnuk rules are considered unnecessary as there are already insurance packages available to Brits which cover certain risks on private land.
Mr Vnuk was injured after falling from a ladder that was hit by a tractor trailer. Insurers refused to pay out because the accident took place on private property and involved a vehicle being used for farming.
But the ECJ ruled that it should have been covered by compulsory vehicle insurance.
Writing about the law in The Daily Telegraph in 2017, Mr Johnson said: “What has it got to do with the so-called Single Market, whether I tootle around my garden on an undersized quad bike? Absolutely nothing.
“Through this application of EU law in Britain, millions of uninsured vehicles have potentially been created.”
The UK officially left the EU on January 31 last year, with the formal transition period coming to an end on December 31, 2020, after the ratification of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.