More tax on the horizon: Tyre makers work to get a grip on environmental damage

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Riders could be taxed on pollution caused by motorbike tyres as part of a range of options being considered as the Government drives towards its upcoming Net Zero targets.

Although an idea still very much in its infancy, the current Net Zero strategy aims to decarbonise all sectors of the UK economy by 2050. Tyres release a range of harmful particles including zinc and lead as they break down, and this environmental damage could become subject to taxation in the future.

Fortunately, leading manufacturers such as Michelin have already thought about this, and plan to produce all of their products with 100% bio-sourced, renewable, or recycled materials by 2050.

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During a recent interview the company told MCN: “The next big driver will be when governments figure out how to tax electric vehicles and if that is on particulate matter from tyres, then finding ways to minimise that and at the same time increase use of sustainable materials will be key.”

Motorists’ group, the RAC, have been critical of taxing tyres, saying it could lead to more people driving on worn out rubber to help cut costs. Policy Chief Nicholas Lyes commented: “Talk of a tyre tax, while incredibly premature, could do more harm than good by causing more injuries and deaths on our roads by putting drivers off replacing worn out tyres when they should.

“If levied at the point of sale, it would lead to cheaper tyres being taxed more heavily as they are far more likely to wear more quickly and shed a higher number of particles into the environment and better quality ones being taxed less.”

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He continued: “Making cheaper tyres more expensive would no doubt cause some to continue driving on illegal tyres, compromising road safety for everyone.”