Council mocked after not taxing celebrated road sweeper

The electric road sweeper launched by Harrow Council

The electric road sweeper launched by Harrow Council - Credit: Harrow Council

A West London council has been mocked for celebrating the launch of a new road sweeper after it emerged it had not been taxed. 

Harrow Council championed its fully electric sweeper earlier this month, pointing out it was the first of its kind in London. 

But according to a government’s website, a quick check reveals the sweeper’s tax for 2022 was still outstanding. It was scheduled to be taxed from January 12. 

The current road tax situation of the vehicle

The current road tax situation of the vehicle - Credit: Local Democracy Service

The council even released a video to celebrate the vehicle’s launch – but objectors took to social media to highlighted the small matter of it being on the road illegally.  

Harrow Conservatives urged the current administration to “set a good example” by following the rules of the road. 

By law, it’s an offence to drive a vehicle on a public road in the UK without road tax, but there are a few exceptions.

If you’re taking your car to a pre-booked MOT test, you can drive your vehicle without it being taxed. 

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The law doesn’t state how far you can travel, but if you stop off at the shops on the way or cover an unreasonably long distance it could be deemed you’re using the vehicle for other purposes and the exemption won’t apply.

Some vehicles are exempt from paying road tax, including fully electric vehicles like the council’s eSwingo 200+. However, this does not make it exempt from applying for and registering its tax. 

Harrow Council said using the sweeper, which can cover a seven-hour shift on a single charge, will save more than 3,000 litres of diesel a year, resulting in a reduction of more than 8,000kg in direct carbon emissions and saving £4,500 in overall fuel costs.

Its lead environment councillor Varsha Parmar said: “I’m so proud that Harrow is leading the way with this electric sweeper. 

“It looks fantastic and brings so many benefits to Harrow. It will reduce our carbon footprint, save on running costs and it’s quieter too.”

Harrow Council has been contacted for comment about the tax issue.