Training course providers have reacted with scepticism to a new DVSA recommendation that they should include one hour on vulnerable road users (VRUs) in every Driver CPC periodic training course from next year.

The recommendation was unveiled by the DVSA recently as part of new guidance being made available to training providers seeking course approval and states that the agency expects course providers to “review and modify course content” as part of any application for course approval from 1 April 2015.

Alec Horner, chief executive of the Association of Trainers, told he welcomed the news that the changes would not be compulsory but said it might not be practical to put something on VRUs into every course.

“You can’t be talking about customer service and then suddenly start talking about bicycles and motorbikes,” he said.

It would make more sense for training providers to insert VRU content only into courses where there is a logical link, he added. “It’s not compulsory - it’s a strong recommendation,” he stressed.

FTA head of road freight and enforcement James Firth said its members were “disappointed that government has chosen to attempt to interfere with training content”, adding: “It should be for drivers and employers to identify training needs, not politicians; drivers and operations vary massively. Until now, we thought government agreed with industry on that point.”

A spokesman for the association’s training department added that it would “wait to see the precise nature of the changes to the guidance to consider the impact on our courses”.

A spokeswoman for the DVSA declined to say whether a failure to comply with the recommendation could lead to course approval being withheld, but stressed that the change was “not obligatory”.

She added that the agency had “met with industry stakeholders and sought their feedback”, though she declined to say what feedback had actually been received.