Delegated heavy vehicle testing will not be introduced as part of the Business and Planning Bill despite repeated claims from the Authorised Test Facility Operators Association (ATFOA) that it is the only tool to satisfactorily deal with a testing backlog caused by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

In mid-July, Lord Attlee tabled an amendment to the Bill that would have enabled the Secretary of State for Transport to authorise delegated testing. However, it will not be progressed under further stages of the Bill, Lord Attlee has been told.

The ATF Operators Association (ATFOA) says the news is “disappointing,” but it adds that the work done by itself and Lord Attlee has “caused some embarrassment in government.” Lord Attlee has criticised the practice of requiring DVSA staff to carry out PSVs and LGV tests while similar mandatory inspections in other sectors are done by private sector employees.

ATFOA has previously questioned whether DVSA can provide sufficient resource to deliver the number of heavy vehicle tests that will be required over coming months. DVSA issued three-month exemptions to vehicles that fell due for test during the period of suspension, with some being awarded two.

Unconfirmed proposals from DVSA suggest that three-month exemptions will continue to be issued for vehicles coming due for test as part of their normal maintenance regime until the end of March 2021. FTA has called for 12-month grace periods to be issued to vehicles in the most compliant fleets to help tackle the backlog.

Despite the setback, ATFOA says it still hopes to convince the government to introduce delegated heavy vehicle testing at some point. It is continuing to work with Lord Attlee to formulate its next steps.