The Vehicle Operator and Services Agency needs to be given dedicated resources to meet the looming enforcement challenges associated with the HGV Road User Levy and the increased privatisation of the HGV annual testing network.
Giving evidence to the House of Commons Transport Select Committee earlier this week, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association said that VOSA must be given a dedicated enforcement budget to tackle the threat of foreign hauliers trying to evade the new road user levy due for introduction in 2014.
"The current £200 on-the-spot fine for non-payment of the levy is too low and will encourage many foreign hauliers to take a risk by not paying the daily, weekly or monthly charge," said BVRLA director of legal and policy Jay Parmar.
"VOSA is going to have its work cut out ensuring that they don't get away with it and the agency will require the means to operate a robust enforcement strategy."
The BVRLA also told MPs that VOSA would need more resources to sustain an efficient, nationwide network of independent Authorised Testing Facilities. The agency wants 75% of HGV annual tests to be carried out in ATFs by 2014, but the BVRLA believes this can only be achieved if VOSA starts accrediting independent vehicle testers that work for the ATF owner. By employing multi-skilled staff, ATF's will be able to operate flexible and efficient testing services without compromising their ongoing maintenance work.
"Existing VOSA testers could then be re-deployed to audit the work of these new independent testers and ensure that HGV roadworthiness standards are enforced," said Parmar.
"The independent MOT testing regime has stood the test of time, and BVRLA proposals would bring HGVs into line with this successful model.
"Some people have raised concerns about having vehicles maintained and tested at the same site, but we are confident that ATF operators would not jeopardise their status by cutting corners on testing."
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About the BVRLA:
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association is the national trade body for companies engaged in the leasing and rental of cars and commercial vehicles. Its members provide short-term rental, contract hire and fleet management services to corporate users and consumers. They operate a combined fleet of around 2.75 million cars, vans and trucks, buying nearly half of all new vehicles sold in the UK. Through its members and their customers, the BVRLA represents the interests of more than two million business car drivers and the millions of people who use a rental vehicle each year. As well as lobbying the government on key issues affecting the sector, the BVRLA regulates its members through a mandatory code of conduct.
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