A DfT review of the HGV testing system is on the cards in a move that could see the DVSA’s monopoly on HGV testing overturned and the door opened to accredited Authorised Testing Facility (ATF) operators.

According to sources, the DfT is to launch a review "in the coming months" into the way HGV and trailer roadworthiness testing is carried out.

The review will look at how to tackle the current shortage of DVSA testers and consider boosting numbers by allowing DVSA accredited testers from the private sector to test HGVs and trailers.

Sources say the review was prompted by Conservative peer Lord Attlee decision to table an amendment to the government’s Business and Planning Bill in which he called the government to allow Authorised Testing Facility (ATF) operators to be accredited to carry out roadworthiness HGV and trailer tests.

In his address to the House of Lords last week, Lord Atlee pointed to the existence of accredited private sector testers for trains, planes and cranes, and questioned why the same testing regime should not apply to HGVs and trailers.

Although the amendment from the Conservative peer was not accepted, it is understood that the DfT has agreed to carry out a review of the HGV testing system "in the coming months."

The review will be welcomed by the logistics industry. Both ATFOA and RHA have become increasingly critical of DVSA’s HGV testing system, arguing it is inefficient, cumbersome, costly to industry and lacks sufficient numbers of testers to adequately meet industry demand.

Both organisations were infuriated by DVSA's decision to suspend HGV tests during the Covid-19 lockdown. Whilst testing has resumed this month, the hiatus has created a huge backlog of thousands of HGV tests which threatens to impact the logistics industry as it enters its peak period around Christmas.

Earlier this month RHA chief executive Richard Burnett highlighted the issue to MPs when he told Transport Select Committee that DVSA’s decision to shut down HGV testing during the pandemic was indicative of a “cultural issue” within the department which “needs to be fixed”.

Stephen Smith, ATFOA president, said: “A review is exactly what we need and which can only vindicate the logic of our argument which we have long put to DVSA. There needs to be a consistent policy that covers all sectors. If private sector testers are good enough for planes, cranes and trains, then they are good enough for HGVs. The only logical conclusion a review can reach is that HGV testing should be opened up to expert, accredited ATF operators.”

Lord Atlee declined to comment on reports that a DfT review of theHGV testing regime is in the pipeline.

He told motortransport.co.uk: “I am extremely grateful to the Secretary of State for Transport, DfT ministers and Baroness Vere for listening very carefully to the arguments I presented in the House of Lords.”

DfT has yet to respond to a request for comment.