New emissions crackdown on rogue goods operators

Posted 26/06/2017 : By: Tim Ridyard

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has announced additional roadside checks on lorries stopped from August 2017 - emissions will be now investigated as it seeks to avoid operators circumventing the rules to reduce pollutants. There are a number of mechanisms for minimising adverse emissions: for example AdBlue is used in diesel vehicles to reduce Nitrogen Oxide by converting it into nitrogen and steam thereby reducing what is otherwise a significant pollution source.

DVSA states it has uncovered evidence of methods deployed by operators to avoid emissions controls that 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.

Quite apart from compromising health, conduct of this nature would clearly constitute adverse conduct and be contrary to the mandatory good repute or fitness required for an operator to hold an operator's licence to operate vehicles above 3.5 tonnes. DVSA has indicated it will pass findings to Traffic Commissioners who of course can then confront rogue operators - removing, reducing or suspending their licences as necessary .

Operators and drivers who circumvent the emissions standards no doubt do so for commercial gain at the expense of public safety: most regulatory regimes focus on safety and in addition fair competition. Unlawful corner-cutting disadvantages the compliant operator, as well as putting the public at risk.

DVSA states that their approach at the roadside will be as follows: '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. DVSA enforcement staff can insist that a vehicle be taken off the road immediately if they find a driver or operator is repeatedly offending.'

For further information, advice and assistance with regard to road transport regulatory matters get in touch with Tim Ridyard on tim.ridyard@ashtonslegal.co.uk or Tim Norris on tim.norris@ashtonslegal.co.uk.

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