A six month pilot of next generation testing (NGT) will commence next month in south Wales with more than 20 ATF operators.

Alex Fiddes, director of operations at DVSA - formerly Vosa and the DSA - said the trial will kick off in the middle of March and run through until September.

“The pilot involves 25 technical staff; we’ve created a new management team dedicated solely to the pilot area, and we’re in the process of meeting with ATF operators in south Wales to find out what their requirements are and explore what they’d like to do under the new pilot – how can they extend their day for example,” said Fiddes.

He said the reason DVSA picked south Wales as the test region is because there is a real mix of transport environments.

“There’s a mix of ATFs from the very rural areas of south Wales to the big city areas such as Cardiff where those operators will really want to stretch the day out and grow their market. I think we will see some ways of working remain very similar to the old arrangements, while some will involve much earlier starts and two testers at a site,” he added.

According to Fiddes, some of the larger logistics operators have said if they could get one or two vehicles tested earlier in the morning, the utilisation of the fleet would improve and they’d benefit from the cost avoidance of hiring a replacement truck for the day.

Currently the earliest start for testing is 8am.

“The reason we’re doing a pilot is to make absolutely certain that when we roll NGT out nationally, that it meets the majority of industry’s needs. We believe we understand what industry wants; but there’s no better way of validating it than with live operators.

“I hope that at 6am we can start testing vehicles but it might turn out that operators don’t want 6am, they want 6.30am for example. So we really need to test the whole supply chain from those who present the vehicle to those that run ATFs,” added Fiddes.

After the pilot ends, Fiddes said any necessary tweaks will be made and then NGT will be rolled out nationally.