ESA welcomes government suspension of MOT testing for HGVs

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has welcomed the government’s “pragmatic” decision to suspend MOT testing for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) for three months, including refuse collection vehicles, for three months during the coronavirus outbreak.

From Friday (20 March), the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will issue three-month certificates of exemption (CTE) to all HGVs, trailers and Public Service Vehicles with an annual safety test certificate about to expire until further notice.

Biffa waste collection vehicle.The coronavirus outbreak and government measures to reduce infection, such as reducing public transport and advising social distancing, have caused severe disruption to the UK economy and public services. Waste services are likely to experience significant disruption over the coming weeks, with the ESA calling for waste management to be deemed an essential industry to minimise the impact as far as possible, which was granted on Friday.

The DVSA decision will come as some relief to the waste and recycling sector, which operates large fleets of HGVs, including refuse collection vehicles (RCVs), with the MOT suspension keeping roadworthy vehicles in operation.

Commenting, Jacob Hayler, Executive Director of the ESA, said: “This sensible, pragmatic, approach taken by the DVSA is welcomed and will help recycling and waste operators, including ESA members, remain focussed on keeping our homes and streets free from waste during this challenging period.

“Of course, ESA members will continue to keep all of their vehicles in a safe, roadworthy, condition and will operate within the terms of their operators’ licence conditions, but this extension does provide temporary small relief to a vital sector that will undoubtedly be under increasing pressure in the coming weeks and months.

“The ESA is working with government to try and address multiple regulatory areas where temporary common-sense flexibility like this will help operators to keep the wheels turning on waste services. Last week, we were pleased to see that the government listened to calls from the ESA and others, which saw waste disposal identified as an essential sector, and its frontline employees given key-worker status.”

The waste sector is also exempt from the new suspension on licence tests for new HGV drivers, put in place to reduce the spread of infection between drivers and examiners, as waste workers have been included on the government’s list of key workers, meaning that trainee HGV drivers waiting to take their tests should be able to do so.

Commenting on the announcement, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We are having to take big decisions to protect the public in our national battle against COVID-19. Regrettably, we have had to suspend driver testing for up to 3 months to help tackle the spread of the virus.

“It is vital that those who need a test can get one so DVSA is offering tests to those who have a critical need, such as the NHS and drivers delivering goods across the UK. Those who have tests cancelled will have priority when testing resumes.”

You can view the full announcement on the government website.

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