The BVRLA is warning fleet managers that the new EC type approval rules leave a lot of questions unanswered.
New European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) rules requiring all modified vans to have whole vehicle type approval are due to come into force in Spring 2013.
The main purpose these regulations is to create a common standard for vehicles throughout the European Community, eliminating the need for each country to carry out type approval testing to its own requirements.
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has raised concerns that fleets could face major bureaucratic headaches in trying to comply with the rules which require all modifications made to a vehicle before it is registered to undergo type approval.
According to the BVRLA, this even extends to include minor items such as roof beacons.
What approval means
According to the Department for Transport (DfT), vehicle type approval is a requirement for vehicles before they are registered with the DVLA — i.e. when they are in an ex-factory condition.
Once a vehicle — such as a new van — is registered, then the type approval is ‘spent’, according to the DfT. Modifications after its initial registration have to comply with construction and use and other regulations as they do at present, but no further type approval is required.
As far as I can see, this means that racking, roof racks, ply-lining and so on can all be fitted with impunity after a new van has been registered.
Light Touch Proposal
As I understand it, the problem is that there is a growing tendency for vans to be fully kitted out before they go to the dealer to be registered and delivered.
The obvious solution to this would be to register the vans before they are fitted with accessories, but on the basis this won’t always be possible, the BVRLA is working with VOSA and the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) to develop a list of modifications that can have ‘blanket’ or ‘light touch’ approval.
This is promising, but as BVRLA Chief Executive John Lewis says:
“While the VCA’s ‘light touch’ proposal is a step in the right direction, there are still too many unanswered questions and we are very concerned that the system will not be able to cope with this potential new surge in type approval testing.”
Not being a fleet manager or a dealer, what I’m not sure about is how much of a problem this really is. If all that is required is for a vehicle to be registered before it’s modified, then surely it’s just a paperwork exercise?
Introducing ‘blanket approval’ schemes for roof beacons seems madness…
Do you know better?
If you are involved in the fleet or van trade and know better than me, then please leave a comment below and let us know how you see the situation.
Disclaimer: This article is my opinion only and is definitely not a guide to the new rules. Contact VOSA or the VCA if you want to know the facts, don’t trust me!