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Vosa foreign truck unit faces uncertain future

  • 12 March 2013
  • By derren hayes

A Vosa roadside enforcement unit dedicated to targeting foreign-registered trucks is set to be scaled back due to budget cuts, the Transport Select Committee has been told.

The High Risk Traffic Initiative (HRTI) was set up in 2009 with a £24m ringfenced three-year budget. To date it has been instrumental in improving vehicle standards among foreign operators by increasing the number of checks carried out at the roadside.

But Gary Washer, a PCS union official representing Vosa employees, told the select committee last week that the future of the initiative is now uncertain.

He explained: “Initial funding for HRTI has now been withdrawn and subsumed into the single enforcement budget; it’s disappointing.

“It’s on a downward trend in terms of not being able to expand the number of shifts worked, and means we can’t continue in the way we have in [recent] years.”

In written evidence to the committee, which is currently scrutinising the workings of Vosa, the enforcement agency confirmed there had been a reduction in HRTI funding but promised the impact on “frontline activities” would be minimised.

The committee heard how Vosa was getting better at targeting foreign operators, but Jack Semple, head of policy at the Road Haulage Association, who also gave evidence, said this isn’t as stringent as the enforcement systems used to police UK hauliers. He added: “Infringements within foreign vehicles tend to be significantly worse.”

More than 100 dedicated enforcement staff work within the HRTI, and are stationed at ports and on popular international vehicle routes.

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Article source: http://www.commercialmotor.com:80/latest-news/vosa-foreign-truck-unit-faces-uncertain-future