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Vosa to accelerate Testing Transformation programme

  • 09 July 2012
  • By Hayley Pink

Vosa has revealed it will be accelerating its Testing Transformation programme, after revealing half of all LGV tests are now carried out at privately-owned sites.

As a result, the agency has earmarked six more testing stations for closure in the next nine months.

Vosa says that 50.19% of tests are now carried out at private Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs), of which there are 220 nationwide (154 open access and 30 thrid-party sites). There are currently 63 Vosa testing centres still in operation.

Vosa chief executive Alastair Peoples adds that the agency is committed to transfering the majority of its core testing service to non-Vosa sites by March 2013, and has a “healthy pipeline” of interest from companies looking to operate an ATF.

The next phase of closures will see Vosa testing centres close in Hereford, Leicester, Pontypool, Redruth, Swansea and Cowes, with “sufficient market interest” from private firms in the areas in opening ATFs. The sites will close in the next three to nine months.

Road Haulage Association (RHA) director of policy Jack Semple says Vosa has restated its intention that there will be enough ATFs operational to meet demand, and that sites won’t be closed unless alternatives are available. “It might not be a 100% smooth ride, but we accept Vosa’s commitment to establishing a network of ATFs,” he adds.

However, Semple says that some RHA members have experienced delays in booking tests, retests and slots to have PG9s lifted at ATFs, and that he will be “keeping a careful eye on the issue”.

He is also keen for the government to revamp testing regulations: “We think the government should move to end Vosa’s monopoly, so that the private sector can carry out tests within a system of high-quality regulation.

“We do not suggest that Vosa has to be the regulator, but it is an obvious, strong candidate for that role. This would free up Vosa’s time for enforcement activities rather than testing.”

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Article source: http://www.commercialmotor.com:80/latest-news/vosa-to-accelerate-testing-transformation-programme