Wednesday 22 September 2021

DVSA reopens ATF application process

Image courtesy Everquip Garage Equipment

The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has announced it will now allow prospective authorised testing facility (ATF) providers to apply for new ATFs – provided they meet certain criteria – in line with recommendations on heavy vehicle testing from a Department for Transport review.

The agency had temporarily paused applications in 2017, which it says helped it to support and meet the needs of existing ATF facilities. Now the moratorium will end in a phased approach, which DVSA says will focus on maximising benefits to fleet operators.

Applications can now be submitted if they meet any of the following five criteria – namely, if a proposed ATF:

  1. Is a move of premises for an existing ATF, but it is within the same geographic area.
  2. Already has ‘approval in principle’ from DVSA.
  3. Is in an area with a substantial shortage of ATFs, currently Orkney and mainland Highlands of Scotland.
  4. Is in Southern England and is offering testing of fully laden fuel tankers (often known as a full pet. reg. site) or ADR testing.
  5. 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 says further announcements will reveal how these criteria will be widened in future. It is working with industry bodies to develop the plan and says it welcomes feedback on future priorities.

Neil Barlow, head of vehicle policy and engineering at DVSA, said: “This is the first step towards opening up the market to new ATFs, thereby increasing competition and improving the testing service to heavy vehicle operators.

“We’ve listened to the industry and the outcome of the review. This is an important first step in improving our service – and we will move swiftly to do more.

“We’d like to thank the heavy vehicle industry who have worked with us on this.”

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