Enforcement officers from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have begun a nationwide campaign to crackdown on the use of emissions cheat devices in lorries.
Starting this month (1 September), the new enforcement regime will see officers carrying out inspections on lorries at sites across the UK, looking for Adblue emulator devices that falsely indicate that the vehicle is using additives to reduce harmful emissions.
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.
AdBlue is a fluid that is injected into diesel exhaust gases and which at high temperatures turns to ammonia and carbon dioxide, which helps to convert NOx into nitrogen and water.
Vehicles in frequent use can require the fluid, which is contained in a tank adjacent to the diesel fuel tank, to be topped up regularly.
By using a cheat device, vehicle operators can make it appear that they are continuing to use the additive to reduce emissions, whilst avoiding the cost of topping up the fluid, and emitting harmful pollutants in the process.
Drivers caught with an emissions cheat device or a faulty emissions control system have 10 days to remove the device and repair their emissions system.
If they continue to use a device or fail to repair the system, they could get a £300 fixed penalty fine and have their vehicle immediately taken off the road.
DVSA will then conduct a follow up investigation with the operator and may refer its findings to the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain, who have the power to strip a company of its licence to operate.
DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn, said: “DVSA’s priority is to protect everyone from unsafe vehicles and drivers.
“A vehicle doesn’t have to be falling apart to be unsafe – any driver or operator who uses cheat devices to get around emissions rules is putting the health of the entire nation at risk.
“DVSA will take the strongest possible action against anyone who tries to cheat emissions rules.â€?
The nationwide rollout of the campaign follows a year-long pilot that saw DVSA enforcement staff uncover 449 emissions cheat devices during roadside checks at five sites (see airqualitynews.com story).