Driving in the UK;The UK currently permits EU nationals to drive within the United Kingdom under their existing EU license. They would be able to do so with only one reasonable restriction: they may only drive up to 70 years of age. This very same restriction exists for those with UK licenses, so places EU license holders on a level playing field.
However, it’s currently unknown how this will play out once the transitionary period of Brexit has concluded. This began on 31st January 2020 – and it’s likely not striking a deal to include rights will curtail this ability significantly.
A hard Brexit – where the UK leaves with no deal – is going to be felt far and wide: from businesses who haul goods to and from the UK every day, to the millions of tourists who are visiting and enjoying all that the UK has to offer each year.
According to DrivingScout, one of the most popular companies that provides a driving test cancellation checker so you can get an earlier driving test, this will result in substantially increased demand for driving tests with increased wait times.
The UK already has a tremendous wait time for driving tests – as much as 12 weeks in some areas. This level of wait is currently seen as normal by the millions of individuals who sit their driving test exam in the UK each year. However, any increased pressure caused by Europeans being forced to take a UK style driving exam may well cause test centres to buckle further under the load.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of needing to take a UK driving exam quickly, when you’re able to lean on DrivingScout to help you out for a surprisingly small fee of £13 (€15) in addition to the usual fees incurred to take your test.
Although the tests are currently cancelled due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, it’s really important that you keep thinking about your test readiness. Where possible, practise using a car that is already within your household (to avoid having to come in contact with another person to rent one) and also ensure that the person sitting with you meets the necessary requirements to be able to supervise your driving. For example, they need to be at least 21 years of age and have had a license for at least 3 years. You must also have the right level of insurance to drive the car on UK roads (including private land areas of supermarkets – appropriate insurance is required).
The DVSA will look to reintroduce exams from July onwards, social distancing permitting. Therefore retain your test standard to be eligible to take your test once their online systems re-open. At present, all tests have been cancelled for a period of three months beginning 20th April 2020, though they have no ruled out extending this period should it be prudent to do so. As a result, it would be all too easy to forget how to learn to drive and therefore require total retraining – which will cause significant additional expense (and a shortage of instructors as many will have been unable to afford being out of work for so long – reducing the number available on the market).
Until the 31st January 2021, it will be possible to exchange a full EU driving license for a UK one with the DVSA – the UK’s government run driving association – however this process will take at least 3 weeks. In order to not get caught out, those who are considering doing so should apply to exchange their EU licences to UK ones as soon as possible. Once the 31st October passes, the only recourse may be to apply for a UK license by passing a test in the UK, and relying on companies such as DrivingScout to accelerate this process for you to minimise the impact.
Harper Harrison is a reporter for The Hear UP. Harper got an internship at the NPR and worked as a reporter and producer. harper has also worked as a reporter for the Medium. Harper covers health and science for The Hear UP.
Solar Energy Innovation: Unleashing The Potential Beyond Power Generation
Solar energy has long been recognized as a clean and renewable source of power generation. However, its potential extends far beyond electricity production. Through innovative applications, solar panels are driving breakthroughs in various sectors, revolutionizing transportation, water desalination, and even powering everyday gadgets. This article explores the diverse and exciting realm of solar energy innovation, highlighting its transformative impact on our lives and the environment.
1. Solar-Powered Transportation:
Solar panels are propelling the transportation sector into a greener future. Solar-powered electric vehicles (EVs) are emerging as a promising solution to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Solar cells integrated into the roofs and bodies of EVs harness sunlight, supplementing the vehicle’s battery charging process. This technology extends the vehicle’s range, reduces charging requirements, and ultimately decreases carbon emissions. Solar-powered charging stations are also being deployed to provide clean energy for electric cars, making long-distance travel more sustainable and accessible.
2. Solar Desalination:
Water scarcity is a pressing global issue, particularly in arid regions. Solar desalination harnesses the power of the sun to convert seawater or brackish water into fresh water. Solar stills, using solar panels, employ evaporation and condensation processes to separate water from impurities, producing clean drinking water. This innovation offers a sustainable solution to water scarcity, reducing reliance on energy-intensive desalination methods and decreasing the strain on freshwater sources.
3. Solar-Powered Gadgets:
Solar panels are powering an array of gadgets, enabling us to harness solar energy in our daily lives. Solar-powered chargers for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, provide a convenient and environmentally friendly charging option on the go. Solar-powered outdoor lights illuminate pathways and gardens without the need for wiring or electricity. Additionally, solar-powered backpacks equipped with solar panels can charge devices while hiking or traveling, enhancing convenience and reducing reliance on traditional charging methods.
4. Solar-Powered Agriculture:
Solar energy is transforming the agricultural sector, offering sustainable solutions to power farming operations. Solar-powered irrigation systems utilize solar panels to generate electricity for pumps, reducing reliance on fossil fuel-powered alternatives. These systems are cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and enable farmers to irrigate their fields even in remote locations. Solar-powered greenhouse operations are also gaining popularity, providing optimal conditions for crop growth while minimizing energy consumption and carbon emissions.
5. Solar-Powered Air Conditioning:
Traditional air conditioning systems are energy-intensive and contribute to carbon emissions. However, solar-powered air conditioning presents an innovative solution. Photovoltaic thermal hybrid collectors utilize solar panels to generate both electricity and heat, which can then be used for cooling purposes. These systems reduce electricity consumption, lower operating costs, and offer a sustainable alternative for temperature control in residential, commercial, and industrial settings.
6. Solar-Powered Disaster Relief:
Solar energy plays a crucial role in disaster relief efforts, providing power in areas where the electrical grid is damaged or nonexistent. Portable solar panels and solar-powered generators offer immediate access to electricity for emergency communication, medical equipment, and lighting. These innovative solutions enhance the effectiveness of relief operations, ensuring critical services are available during challenging times.
7. Solar-Powered Water Heating:
Solar thermal technology utilizes solar panels to heat water for domestic and industrial use. Solar water heaters are becoming increasingly popular, offering an energy-efficient and cost-effective alternative to traditional water heating systems. These systems reduce reliance on fossil fuels, lower energy bills, and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Solar energy innovation is expanding the horizons of what is possible with solar panels beyond electricity generation. From powering transportation to desalinating water, and from charging gadgets to revolutionizing agriculture, solar panels are revolutionizing multiple sectors and driving sustainable solutions. As technological advancements continue, solar energy will become increasingly accessible, efficient, and integrated into our daily lives. By embracing solar energy innovation, we can create a more sustainable and resilient future, benefiting both our planet and future generations.
Kenneth is a proud native of sydney, born and raised there. However, he pursued his education abroad and studied in Australia. Kenneth has worked as a journalist for almost a decade, making valuable contributions to prominent publications such as Yahoo News and The Verge. Currently, he serves as a journalist for The Hear Up, where he focuses on covering climate and science news. You can reach Kenneth at [email protected].