DVSA agrees to accepting new ATF applications

DVSA agrees to accepting new ATF applications

09 Jun 2021 Posted By Josh Reynolds

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have confirmed that they have a plan to allow applications for new Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs) to open.

This announcement follows intense lobbying by the RHA, as we’ve been calling for increased ATF capacity for a long time, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic saw many testing sites closed.

DVSA had previously issued a temporary pause on applications for new ATFs, sometimes referred to as a moratorium, and stopped accepting new ATF applications in 2017.

However, we’re pleased to hear that they have now developed a plan with several steps to allow applications for new ATFs.

Tom Cotton, our head of policy and infrastructure for England & Wales said: “We’re pleased that our lobbying of the Government has finally resulted in a positive outcome, after more than two years.

“There are locations where new ATF locations are urgently required, and the location of these sites must not compromise existing ATF operations.

“We are aware of members travelling vast distances in remote locations and this will benefit those members, who will hopefully be able to attend ATFs located at a more reasonable distance in the future.”

As a first step towards ending the moratorium, DVSA will be accepting new applications, if a proposed ATF meets the following requirements:

• The ATF a move of premises for an existing facility, but it is within the same geographic area,
• It already has ‘approval in principle’ from DVSA,
• The site is in an area with a substantial shortage of ATFs, currently Orkney and mainland Highlands of Scotland,
• The ATF is in Southern England and is offering testing of fully laden fuel tankers (this is often known as a full pet. reg. site), or ADR testing,
• It will significantly improve the service to heavy vehicle operators, by reduced journey times or other efficiency benefits. Applications made under this criteria will be prioritised based on the certainty and scale of improvement in service the proposed ATF can offer.

If anyone has completed an application form to open an ATF while the suspension has been in place – and it meets any of the 5 criteria above – DVSA will contact you to ask if you want to continue with the application.

If you have previously registered an interest in opening an ATF and your proposal meets any of the 5 criteria, you will need to complete an application form.

Timings
Applications can be made under any of the above five criteria from today, Thursday 3 June 2021. DVSA have made some minor changes to the application form to include these criteria. You can find further guidance on here.

Next steps
Applications will need to be assessed to ensure that requirements are met. Once approved and contracts are in place, staff will be scheduled as soon as possible. However, testing staff are scheduled some months ahead, so start dates may not be immediate.

DVSA understands that there will be businesses which do not qualify under these criteria, and there will be further announcements on how these criteria will be widened in the future.

The agency is working with industry bodies including the RHA to further develop this plan. If you have any additional feedback, please contact Tom Cotton at [email protected]

We will provide additional updates as they’re released.

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