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Government announces that lorry emissions checks to start at the roadside

Sun 25 June 2017 | Back to news list

The Department for Transport has announced that from August 2017, roadside checks of lorries carried out by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will include an emissions check.

DVSA’s enforcement staff, and their European counterparts have found evidence that drivers and operators use emissions cheat devices to cut the cost of operating. These include:

  • using devices designed to stop emissions control systems from working
  • removing the diesel particulate filter or trap
  • using cheap, fake emission reduction devices or diesel exhaust fluid
  • using illegal engine modifications which result in excessive emissions
  • removing or bypassing the exhaust gas recirculation valve

DVSA enforcement officers will give the driver and operator 10 days to fix the emissions system if they find a vehicle with tampered emissions readings. If the emissions system isn’t fixed within 10 days, DVSA will issue a fine and stop the vehicle being used on the road. Ultimately, enforcement staff will be able to insist that a vehicle is taken off the road immediately if they find a driver or operator is repeatedly offending.

DVSA will be targeting lorry drivers and operators who try to cheat vehicle emissions. The new checks will target those who break the law and the Government says that the initiative will help to improve air quality.

The initiative is part of the Government's plan to tackle air quality problems. In May 2017, Defra published a draft plan to improve air quality by reducing nitrogen dioxide levels in the UK. A final plan will be published by 31 July.

Transport Minister, Jesse Norman said: "I welcome this crackdown on rogue hauliers who cheat the system by installing bogus devices which lead to increased pollution.

"There has rightly been a huge public outcry against car manufacturers that have been cheating emissions standards, and the same rule should apply here too.

"We all need clean air in which to live and work. That’s why the government has committed more than £2 billion since 2011 to support greener transport."

The LowCVP is currently working to increase the focus on emissions (both carbon and air pollution) from commercial vehicles and recently announced that improvements in this area are a key priority in the Partnership's new work plan
Amongst other initiatives focusing on  the freight sector, the LowCVP is working with the Energy Saving Trust to develop a robust regime to validate the emissions performance of retrofit schemes for commercial vehicles. 

LowCVP's Managing Director Andy Eastlake, commenting on the new initiative, said: "There is no defence for operators who manipulate their vehicles to improve their fuel efficiency knowingly at the expense of Air Quality, and all retrofit devices need much more robust scrutiny and enforcement”.

"This is another clear example of why the LowCVP has been pushing to join up the climate change and air quality agendas more closely and we would urge operators to question some of the claims made by suppliers of these devices”.

"We welcome this important measure and fully support the Government in ensuring that the urgent challenge of air quality is not compromised. We need to work harder on the innovation and development of systems that reduce both carbon emissions and air pollution. We can not trade off one objective against the other." 

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