Moves by the DVSA to give Earned Recognition operators a 12-month MOT exemption on their HGVs and and trailers will do nothing to change the way the role of ATFs is interpreted and compromises safety, according to The Authorised Testing Facilities Operators Association (ATFOA).

Operators have made use of three-month exemptions since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, but the DVSA said it was expanding the exemption period for certain operators it considered to be safer to ease the massive backlog.

Operators in the green band for OCRS roadworthiness, with 50 or more roadworthiness events and a calculated roadworthiness base score of 1.3 or lower on 27 July 2020, will also get a year’s MOT.

However, in a letter to members, ATFOA chair Steven Smith said: "This announcement will undoubtedly lead to fewer tests at ATFs and is further evidence that the DVSA have no intention of changing the way they interpret the ATF’s role.

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"There is nothing here that suggests DVSA have thought about the financial impact to the market place and offer recompense, so yet again ATFs have to bear the cost for DVSA protectionism."

Smith went on to claim that delegated testing was still the only feasible and ‘ready to go’ solution while retaining normality to reliability to the testing regime.

"The announcement serves to further indemnify DVSA from their responsibility to supply testers," he said. "If you want concrete evidence that the DVSA have given up on the idea that they can supply enough testers for their partners, then this is it.

"ATFs have invested millions to ensure we keep our part of the bargain. ATF’s maintain the real estate infrastructure and supply the administration but it seems with every decision the DVSA choose to protect their agency over delivering testers to the market - at the expense of their ATF partners and other stakeholders, not to mention compromising safety."

Smith's comments come only days after the government announced it is to launch a major review of the DVSA’s HGV testing system which could clear the way for accredited private sector testers and break the DVSA’s grip on HGV tests by the end of the year.

"We will be asking the minister for a timeline to ensure our agenda for delegated testing remains at the forefront," Smith added.