New figures released by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have revealed that one in 12 lorries (7.8%) checked by DVSA examiners are fitted with emissions fraud devices. The most common type of device found is an ‘emulator’, which stops the lorry’s existing emissions control system from working.
Between August, when the new checks started, and the end of November, DVSA examiners inspected 3,735 lorries on strategic routes, including those entering and leaving Britain, and found 293 with emissions fraud devices fitted.
These included 151 vehicles registered in Great Britain, out of 1,784 checked (8.5%), 60 vehicles from Northern Ireland, out of 294 checked (20.4%) and 82 vehicles from outside the UK, out of 1,657 checked (4.9%).
Drivers or operators of these vehicles have to remove the devices within 10 days. Those that continue to operate vehicles that haven’t been fixed face a £300 fine and will have their vehicle taken off the road. But they also risk losing their licence to operate a haulage business altogether.
DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said: “DVSA’s priority is to protect against unsafe drivers and vehicles. We are committed to taking dangerous lorries off Britain’s roads. Stopping emissions fraud is a vital part of that.
“Anyone who flouts the law is putting the quality of our air and the health of vulnerable people, at risk. We won’t hesitate to take action against these drivers, operators and vehicles.”
Senior Traffic Commissioner, Richard Turfitt, said: “Traffic Commissioners welcome the steps being taken by the enforcement agency to identify emissions cheats. Use of these devices threatens to undercut responsible and compliant operators as well as damaging the environment and public health.
“We will look to take action wherever an operator seeks an unfair and illegal advantage over the rest of industry.”
Poor air quality is the largest environmental risk to public health in the UK. It’s known to have more severe effects on vulnerable groups, for example, the elderly, children and people already suffering from pre-existing lung and heart conditions. The government is committed to taking action against poor air quality. The checks support the government’s plan for reducing roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations. This includes looking at ways to reduce emissions produced by vehicles, including those used commercially.
In addition to fines and prohibitions issued, DVSA is visiting more than 100 operators’ sites to check the rest of their fleet and has passed cases to the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain, who have the power to remove operator licences.
DVSA is also continuing to work with its counterpart agencies across Europe, and further afield, to make sure that all offences committed by hauliers from outside Great Britain are dealt with in the country they’re based.