A lack of testing slots for HGVs and trailers due to Covid-19 is already causing significant problems for hauliers and the situation is set to deteriorate as Christmas approaches, according to businesses in Yorkshire.

RCA Transport International Services in Dewsbury said it needed around half of its trailers tested next month or they’ll be stood up in the yard – but it was struggling to find a site that could do it.

RCA director Richard McGee said: “It’s going to have a massive knock-on effect.

“A three month delay [in testing] was good at first but now it’s a joke. It’s a complete nightmare.

“We run eight trucks and 12 trailers and six of them are going to be parked up in August.”

RCA’s regular testing station, Specialist Trailer Hire in Leeds, confirmed that it was battling a backlog as well as maintaining its own fleet of 1,200 rental assets.

MD Mark Liveridge said communication from the DVSA had been non-existent up until recently and now it was “very sketchy.”

He said: “The DVSA has only given us testers for one lane. It’s causing people a lot of anxiety and we’re coming into the peak season anyway.”

A debate proposing to amend HGV testing and open it up to ATFs is due to be heard in the House of Lords on Monday and the RHA said it had long supported independent, qualified testing.

Duncan Buchanan, RHA policy director, said: “The current model with DVSA testers driving all around the country is just not sustainable.

“At the moment, we don’t see a viable solution coming from government or DVSA in terms of making this work.

“We are in a room trying to solve this with the DVSA, but it’s been a very frustrating experience since March when we contacted them to say there’s going to be a problem with testing.”

Buchanan said RCA’s concerns were mirrored among its members: “That’s the thing that’s worrying a lot of people. The feedback from members is that they’re absolutely petrified they are going to have vehicles they can’t use.

“Many people have their vehicles tested at a time of low use. [An exemption until] October is not convenient if you are dealing with Christmas.”

The DVSA told motortransport.co.uk that there are no resource issues regarding the allocation of testers and that Specialist Trailer Hire just needed to demonstrate social distancing rules were in place before the agency was able to provide two testers for its testing station, instead of the current one.

A DVSA spokesman added that it was in discussions with the company and believed this would happen by August: "We have sufficient testers to test the national fleet," the spokesman said. "But we can't send them out where lanes are not compliant with rules around social distancing and coronavirus.

"We want to work with ATFs to get the best possible outcome."