DVSA begins national crackdown on lorry emissions cheat devices

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) examiners will begin routinely checking the lorries they stop at the roadside for emissions gaming devices in a bid to combat air pollution.

The move from the DVSA comes after its own research found that lorries fitted with such “cheat devices” were producing up to 20 times more emissions than they claim to.

Under the new rules, drivers caught with an emissions-gaming device will be given a 10-day notice to remove the equipment and repair their emissions system to comply with legal limits. If they fail to do so, the vehicle can be taken off the road and the driver fined up to £300.

For lorries which are part of a business fleet, the DVSA will also have the authority to refer the case to the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain, which can strip a company of its licence to operate. 

DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn said the organisation will “take the strongest possible action against anyone who tries to cheat emissions rules” through the new policy.

“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,” he added.

The national rollout follows a year-long trial which saw DVSA enforcement staff catch 449 emission cheats at five roadside sites across the UK. It comes at a time when the European Commission is proposing to mandate a 15% cut in CO2 emissions from lorries across by 2025, rising to 30% by 2030.

Clean mobility

In related news, the European Commission’s move to introduce stricter mandatory emissions checks for all new cars came into force on Saturday (1 September).

The new testing system consists of two assessments – a laboratory test known as the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), and a test in “real” driving conditions called Real Driving Emissions (RDE). This two-step system became mandatory for all new car models in 2017, but will now apply to all new cars.

The commission claims that WLTP provides fuel consumption and CO2 emissions values that are “much closer” to real-world conditions than the previous test. Meanwhile, RDE measures emissions of NOx and ultrafine particles from vehicles on the road.

The new system will pave the way for another update in 2021, when fuel and energy consumption will also be monitored when the car is on the road. Until then, the Commission will continue assessing the emission targets for each car manufacturer using its existing laboratory-based test called the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).

Sarah George

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