Legal update July 202113 July 2021

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New standard on vehicles as weapons

Attacks on the public involving commercial vehicles have had tragic consequences in recent years, including in the Westminster and London Bridge attacks of 2017. In response, the British Standards Institute (BSI), sponsored by the Department for Transport and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, has developed a new standard and associated guidance, available for free ( The document is designed to prevent commercial vehicles, including lorries, buses and coaches from being used as weapons in acts of terrorism and other forms of serious and organised crime or antisocial behaviour. It sets out security measures to prevent criminals and terrorists from accessing commercial vehicles.

To ensure this new standard is met, the government is working with the industry to develop accreditation and certification schemes for commercial vehicle operators.

To obtain accreditation, operators must:

  • Improve their knowledge of potential risks and determine which of those risks apply to their business
  • Develop a security management plan
  • Assess risk exposure
  • Establish management and accountability for security.
  • Other requirements will include checks of drivers’ references and previous employment history and also regular visual checks of vehicles for signs of tampering.


    ATF moratorium partly rescinded

    Since 2017, DVSA has paused applications for new ATFs. As part of the heavy vehicle testing review, The Department for Transport has recommended that the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency should consider allowing more Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs) to open.

    As a first step towards ending the moratorium, DVSA will now accept new applications for a proposed ATF if it:

  • Is a move of premises for an existing ATF, but it is within the same geographic area
  • Already has ‘approval in principle’ from DVSA
  • Is in an area with a substantial shortage of ATFs: Orkney and mainland Highlands of Scotland
  • Is in Southern England and is offering testing of fully-laden fuel tankers (this is often known as a full pet. reg. site) or ADR testing
  • Will significantly improve the service to heavy vehicle operators, by reduced journey times or other efficiency benefits. Applications made under this criteria will be prioritised based on the certainty and scale of improvement in service the proposed ATF can offer.
  • DVSA points out that applications will need to be assessed and approved and contracts issued. Only then will testing staff be allocated. However, as they are scheduled several months ahead, so start dates may not be immediate.

    DVSA added that these criteria will be widened in the future.

    FACT FILE: Removing prohibitions

    Since 1 June 2021, any prohibitions for testable vehicles or trailers that are not cleared at the roadside will be referred for a DVSA prohibition removal inspection at an ATF.

    Temporary measures were put in place when vehicle testing was stopped because of COVID-19. Now that the service has recovered to a point where the majority of prohibition clearances can return to physical inspections, they are being removed.

    If the vehicle is being used with a certificate of temporary exemption, or the annual test certificate is over six months old, the vehicle will be referred for a full removal inspection. A new annual test certificate will be issued with the removal notice once a pass result is achieved.

    Vehicles with an annual test certificate less than six months old will be referred for a partial inspection, where a removal notice will be issued.

    Prohibitions issued for an annual test dangerous fail or police-issued prohibitions will be removed through the usual process of a DVSA inspection at the ATF.

    The DVSA remote enforcement office will still process remote prohibition removals for notices which were issued before 1 June 2021.

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