Roadside safety checks of commercial vehicles will include inspections to ensure that lorries have not been fitted with devices giving false emission readings, the Department for Tansport (DfT) has announced.
From August, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) officers will check that ‘defeat devices’ are not being used to mask the emission of harmful air pollutants and that diesel particulate filters have not been removed from vehicles.
This comes after it was claimed that enforcement staff from DVSA and other European agencies had found evidence of the use of defeat devices by lorry drivers to ‘cut the cost of operating’.
Other reported incidents include the use of fake emission reduction devices, illegal engine modifications and removal of exhaust gas recirculation valves.
The police and DVSA have the power to carry out spot checks on commercial vehicles at the roadside, predominantly to ensure that the vehicle is roadworthy and that all necessary licences for their operation are in place.
In a statement, DVSA said it will investigate all operators found to be using these methods and pass the findings to the Traffic Commissioner, which has the power to remove operator licences.
“Anyone who flouts the law is putting other road users, and the quality of our air, at risk. We won’t hesitate to take these drivers, operators and vehicles off our roads.” – Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA
DVSA chief executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said: “DVSA’s priority is to protect you from unsafe drivers and vehicles. We are committed to taking dangerous vehicles off Britain’s roads and this new initiative to target emissions fraud is a key part of that.
“Anyone who flouts the law is putting other road users, and the quality of our air, at risk. We won’t hesitate to take these drivers, operators and vehicles off our roads.”
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.”