The Reduced Pollution Certificate (RPC) scheme offers reduced rates of vehicle excise duty to heavy goods vehicle and public service vehicle operators who take action, generally by fitting a particulate trap, to reduce the particulate emissions of their vehicles to a target level below what would be required for a vehicle constructed to the Euro standard of that vehicle.
The initial regulations passed in 1998 were amended by the 2000 regulations. The principal purpose was to replace what had been the anticipated particulate standard for Euro 4 and 5 vehicles (the level that Euro 2 and 3 vehicles respectively had to reach to obtain an RPC) with the more stringent level actually agreed by the EU. This closed a loophole that had enabled a number of operators to obtain RPCs while taking little, if any, positive action to retrofit their vehicles.
The costs to business per vehicle with an RPC are estimated as follows:
fitting participate trap or fitting or converting engine to gas (£4,300 average)
test/certification fee. The initial RPC runs for just under two years initially, with retest fee payable annually thereafter. A test carried out in isolation currently costs £27, whereas a test in conjunction with a roadworthiness or other test costs £16 above those test fees
cost of presenting the vehicle for test—estimated to be £100 but this can be avoided where, as is usually the case, the test is conducted on the same day as the vehicle’s annual roadworthiness test
In 2003-04, a total of 30,080 RPCs were issued, of which 6,776 were first RPCs. Assuming maximum costs under each of the last two aforementioned points (£27 and £100) apply to all RPCs, but retrofitment costs (£4,300) only to the first RPCs, yields an aggregate cost for 2003-04 of £32.9 million.
Costs to the regulator are met through the fees for certification and testing.