Lawnmowers, golf buggies and mobility scooters may all have to be insured by their owners for the first time under a new European Union directive.

Under new European regulations full motor insurance could be required for all vehicles, including those that never leave private land, it has emerged.

The Times reports that the rule change may apply to self-propelled petrol lawnmowers — in addition to ride-on mowers — because Europe’s definition of “motor vehicles” is so vague.

Now the Department for Transport is locked in talks with the EU to minimise the effect of the directive.

Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said the move would lead to a rise in insurance costs for all British motorists who are charged an average £30 levy to cover accidents involving untraced or uninsured drivers.

Mr Goodwill said this levy would have to go up as the scope of motor insurance was widened.

He said that it may also have a knock-on effect for all motorists who pay a levy to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau to compensate the victims of accidents involving uninsured drivers.

In a letter to the Commons Transport Select Committee, Mr Goodwill said that the government would now be required to amend the Road Traffic Act “as soon as parliamentary time allows”.

He said that the change could mean “increased costs of insurance for many households that will have to pay to insure vehicles which previously did not have a requirement to be insured”.

This includes “ride-on lawnmowers or possibly golf buggies” that are used off-road, he said. It could also cover “pedestrian-controlled vehicles, such as mowers”.

Mr Goodwill added that the Department for Transport was “working against the background of a ticking clock” to negotiate with EU officials before being forced to implement the reforms.

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