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Fast pace of ATF roll-out queried

  • 30 July 2013
  • By Chris Druce

Transport Select Committee chairwoman Louise Ellman has questioned the fast pace of the Authorised Testing Facility (ATF) roll-out and its potentially negative effect on vehicle safety standards, after the publication of Work of the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency.

While the committee said it broadly welcomed the transition of vehicle testing from the public to the private sector, which began in 2010, it stated in the report that it was worried about the agency’s ability to provide enough testers to ATFs, and access to the facilities for smaller operators based in remote parts of the country.

Although the National Franchised Dealers Association called for full privatisation of testing in its submission to the committee, Ellman said: “We are not persuaded that testing staff should be employed directly by ATFs, but Vosa has an obligation to provide staff at the right places at the right times.

“Vosa should also bear in mind that a testing market that rests exclusively on ATFs may not be in the best interests of business generally.”

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) said it was surprised that the pace of transition had been flagged up, as it had to date been slower than the Department for Transport had originally envisioned.

Jack Semple, RHA director of policy, said: “We are disappointed that the MPs reject the case for ending Vosa’s monopoly on testing.”

In response to the full report a Vosa spokesman said: “We welcome the Transport Select Committee’s report, which acknowledges the great work that Vosa does in helping to maintain Britain’s strong record on road safety. We will consider the report and respond fully in due course.”

The committee also raised question over Vosa’s seeming reliance on OCRS for enforcement targeting in the report.


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