From August 2017, roadside checks of lorries carried out by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will include an emissions check.
Potentially affecting thousands of UK businesses which use trucks in agriculture such as livestock hauliers, hay and straw merchants and machinery dealers, the DVSA will be targeting lorry drivers and operators who try to cheat vehicle emissions.
According to Gov.UK, the new checks are part of a draft plan, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in May, to improve air quality by reducing nitrogen dioxide levels in the UK. This includes looking at ways to reduce emissions produced by vehicles, including those used commercially - a final plan will be published by 31 July.
Transport minister, Jesse Norman said: “I welcome this crackdown on rogue hauliers who cheat the system by installing bogus devices which lead to increased pollution.
“There has rightly been a huge public outcry against car manufacturers that have been cheating emissions standards, and the same rule should apply here too.”
The new measures have been driven by feedback from DVSA’s enforcement staff, and their European counterparts, which have found evidence that drivers and operators use emissions cheat devices to cut the cost of operating (see Cheat devices panel).
DVSA will investigate all Great Britain operators cheating emissions and pass the findings to the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain, who have the power to remove operator licences.
The agency said it will also continue to work with its European counterparts, and further afield, to make sure that all offences committed by non-Great Britain hauliers are dealt with locally.
Taking action against emission cheats, DVSA enforcement officers will give the driver and operator 10 days to fix the emissions system if they find a vehicle with tampered emissions readings.
If the emissions system is not fixed within 10 days, DVSA will issue a fine and stop the vehicle being used on the road.
Enforcement staff can insist that a vehicle be taken off the road immediately if they find a driver or operator is repeatedly offending.
DVSA chief executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said: “Anyone who flouts the law is putting other road users, and the quality of our air, at risk. We won’t hesitate to take these drivers, operators and vehicles off our roads.”
As for tractors being tested for emissions compliance, there are no plans at the moment to do this, said the DVSA.