FTA says the planned changes will deliver more flexibility, while retaining safety and standards.
“We are pleased that government has committed to have a proper look at allowing non-government employees to examine the LGV annual roadworthiness test – many FTA members have been asking for this for some years,” says James Firth, FTA’s head of licensing policy and compliance information.
“Our members are all agreed that standards and safety must come first, but if done in the right way this could offer tremendous flexibility for the industry.”
The Strategy also commits to examine removing the ‘own company’ block, which requires delegated examiners to examine at least 40 tests per year in their own organisations.
“Road freight companies are too small to be able to satisfy the existing requirements, which is why of the 100 or so delegated examiners currently only two are in the LGV sector,” Firth says. “This change could make it much more straightforward for new drivers to find a test and get their foot on the ladder in the logistics industry.”
The BVRLA, the trade body for the vehicle rental and leasing sector, has also welcomed the DfT publication, noting in particular the plan to improve access to DVLA and DVSA services.
Says Gerry Keaney, chief executive: “We will be pushing for this to include the ability for fleets to pay Vehicle Excise Duty for multiple years, and to apply for bulk refunds online.”
The strategy also notes how DVSA will roll out a new Operator Excellence scheme for trusted fleet operators, based on its ‘earned recognition’ pilot scheme. “We are glad to see this scheme expanded and look forward to hearing more details of how the agency will work with industry-led initiatives including the BVRLA Code of Conduct, Van Excellence and the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme,” says Kearney.
However, he cautioned: “We are concerned that budget cuts could in particular damage the agencies’ ability to innovate with new digital fleet services, and their ability to deliver programmes they have already committed.
“The BVRLA will be lobbying to ensure these projects are delivered within the already agreed timescales.”