DVSA has announced that it will restart heavy vehicle testing from Saturday 4 July, except for at some Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs) in Scotland.

Despite the resumption, vehicles that are due for test in both July and August as part of their normal regime will receive a three-month exemption. A further three-month exemption will also apply to vehicles that were earlier given an extension from April to July. However, it will not capture those that were earlier given a three-month extension from May. Those vehicles will require a test in August.

All extensions will be applied automatically. DVSA says the award of exemptions for July and August will help it to manage demand as testing resumes. While heavy vehicle testing will restart from 4 July, DVSA says it will be “increasing the availability of testers over the coming months, in line with social distancing and the latest government guidance.”

On 18 June, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) had voiced its concern that if further exemptions were issued, some vehicles will operate for 18 months between tests.

DVSA has not advised how it proposes to deal with the backlog of tests that will occur from September. Unless further exemptions are issued, there will be a requirement to process a much higher volumes of tests from then onwards.

The ATF Operators Association (ATFOA) has repeatedly called for the introduction of delegated testing, where ATF staff would carry out the test. It has also made other suggestions as to how a disruptive backlog could be mitigated.

Chairman Stephen Smith says ATFOA has collaborated with trade associations, including the Confederation of Passenger Transport and FTA, to present a ‘road map’ to delegated testing to DVSA.

Testers were withdrawn from ATFs after 18 March and testing was suspended. Three-month exemptions were issued from 24 March onwards.