RHA is calling on Transport for London (TfL) to give hauliers a grace period of at least 12 months to upgrade their trucks to meet the new, tougher Direct Vision Standard criteria, due to be implented in October this year.

From 28 October 2024, HGVs over 12 tonnes will be required to have a three-star rating or fit a Progressive Safe System (PSS) of vehicle safety measures in order to operate in Greater London.

Currently TfL has agreed a three-month grace period from 28 October to give hauliers time to comply with the demands of the new PSS.

However, RHA is arguing that the three month grace period is not enough time for hauliers to upgrade their vehcles and wants this to be extended to a minimum of 12 months.

In a statment released today RHA said: ”We’re clear that operators must be supported at every stage so that they can get clarity on how to comply with the new criteria. All hauliers irrespective of size are currently facing challenges around DVS. They are concerned about the availability of affordable, reliable, and compliant equipment.

”That’s why we are asking for an extension of the grace period from the current three months to a minimum of twelve, with a review to be put in place to ensure adherence. We are not asking for the implementation date to move, but we ask that a realistic assessment of the situation is made.”

The call follows a recent RHA industry survey which showed a large majority of operators (76%), aren’t confident that they can comply with new PSS requirements by 28 October.

Additionally, 80% of operators said they will need more time to fit compliant kit. More than 60% of operators also believe they will need to change their delivery patterns, with a third stating that they’ll permanently reduce the number of lorries entering London. RHA is warning that this could potentially impact the supply chain into and out of London.

RHA added: ”In our engagements with decision makers at all levels of government and in our series of meetings with TfL, we’ve repeated our calls for a pragmatic and flexible approach to help hauliers get their fleets fitted with compliant safety equipment.”

Richard Smith, RHA Managing Director, commented: “We want to make the new DVS requirements work, and we’ve learned from our recent survey, our webinar and from listening to operators across the industry that there’s still concern about the new Progressive Safe System and how it is being implemented.

“For operators, compliance is key, and we cannot over-emphasise how important clarity and certainty is on these matters. Clarity on the requirements to meet the specification, certainty on the equipment fitted - this will drive the investment needed.

“These are tough times for firms in our industry. Many operators wouldn’t have the time or operational capacity to install expensive kit that’s later deemed uncompliant through no fault of their own.

“In all our engagement and in our meetings with TfL, we’ve made it clear that hauliers are facing significant challenges with the DVS changes.

”We will continue to engage with decision-makers at all levels on behalf of our members. We want to keep the supply chain into and out of London moving and we look to work with TfL to see the changes implemented smoothly.”

A request by MT for a comment from TfL has yet to receive a response.