Operators could face severe delays in getting new trucks registered this autumn as new EC rules on vehicle type approval kick in, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has warned.

From 29 October, vehicles over 3.5 tonnes GVW built in more than one stage will come into scope of the new rules, obliging vehicle suppliers to get either EC Whole Vehicle Type Approval or National Small Series Type Approval from the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), or to seek Individual Type Approval (IVA) from the DVSA.

Many are clearly intending to use the IVA option judging by the level of enquiries into this route, said the SMMT – so many, in fact, that it may get overloaded.

"I think the DVSA has been struggling a little bit," SMMT commercial vehicle manager, Nigel Base, said. "A lot more people are doing IVAs than expected, and therein lies the problem. It’s getting better, but nonetheless, we are concerned that there is this head of steam building."

It’s difficult to say what delays might occur, added Base, but around 20,000 vehicles a year could be affected without urgent action by the bodybuilding industry to sort out approvals as quickly as possible, the SMMT has suggested.

The DVSA told MT it was "hopeful" it would be able to cope with any peak in demand for IVAs. Last month it said it would be increasing the number of test stations that could provide IVA.

"We have already trained and qualified eight IVA examiners for the IVA HGV skills set with a further three currently working towards their QA&I [quality assurance and inspection] competence checks.

"We also have another 11 examiners scheduled to attend the IVA HGV course in early September and hope to have around another 10/11 attending the same course the week following that," said a DVSA spokesman.

"We are hopeful that this extra IVA HGV training will be sufficient to cope with demands," he added.