21.12.2009

HGV exemptions to go

The current exemption from annual Heavy Goods Vehicle road worthiness tests for mobile cranes and truck mounted aerial lifts in the UK looks set to end.

A government consultation document is currently being distributed that seeks comment from interested parties over the next three months.

The document proposes to withdraw the exemption from the almost 5,000 road going cranes and over 3,000 truck mounted lifts currently registered in the UK. Once the consultation process is closed in March there will be a delay of a further three months or so before the findings are published.

Assuming that the outcome is then a recommendation to go ahead with withdrawal – and it is hard to see any arguments that will prevent it – the changes to the current law are likely to come into force sometime in 2011.

The driving forces behind the proposal are the fact that the number of exempt vehicles that regularly use UK roads is now over 40,000 and growing. It is also clear that the exemption breaches EU directives for these vehicles that often travel great distances, some at relatively high speeds.

It will be hard to argue a rational case against the removal of the exemption and that both cranes and truck mounted lifts should not be subject to formal roadworthiness tests along the lines of other vehicles. Tests costs between £75 and £135.


The following is the reviews of case for removing exemptions against cranes and truck mounted lifts (tower wagons).

“1. Mobile cranes (as defined in Schedule 3 to the Vehicles Excise Act 1971).

These are mobile self-propelled lifting cranes built on a road-going heavy-duty chassis. According to DVLA statistics there are 4679 currently licensed vehicles.

They may travel long distances to get to site locations and are regularly seen on the road as they rarely stay in one location for any length of time.”

“Case for removing exemption:
Mobile cranes do not fall within the exemption criteria set out in Article 4.1 of Directive 2009/40/EC. Nor, since they are in regular use on the road, do they appear to meet the criteria for the exemption in Article 4.2.”


“Special considerations:
Could mobile cranes be reasonably easily accommodated in vehicle testing stations?
Would it be relatively easy to roller-brake test vehicles in the normal way”?
”5. Tower wagons as defined in:
(a) Paragraph 8 of Schedule 1 to the Vehicles Excise and Registration Act 1994 as originally enacted; or,
(b) Paragraph 17 of Schedule 2 to that Act as originally enacted.

These are HGVs which carry an integral expanding or extendible device for facilitating the erection, inspection, repair or maintenance of overhead structures or equipment – but which are not constructed for the conveyance of any other load.”

“Most vehicles for which operators claim exemption from testing under this category are vehicles that are based on a normal HGV chassis and are in regular use on the road.

Our best estimate from DVLA statistics is that there are in the region of 3,000 tower wagons currently licensed and on the road.”

“Case for removing exemption:
Most vehicles in this category do not fall within the exemption criteria set out in Article 4.1 of Directive 2009/40/EC. Nor, since they are in regular use on the road, do they appear to meet the criteria for the exemption in Article 4.2.”

“Special considerations:
There are no special considerations that we are aware of. Originally it may have been the case that ‘tower wagons’ may not easily have been accommodated in what are now VOSA’s testing station halls. However, so far as we are aware, the same problem does not exist with modern vehicles since hydraulic hoists mostly appear to collapse completely onto the body of the vehicle.”

The consultation period began on 10 December 2009 and will run until 19 March 2010, responses should arrive by that date. Copies of the consultation document can be found at www.dft.gov.ukor you can contact Joanne Wake for alternative formats (Braille, audio CD, etc).

Consultation responses should be sent to:

Joanne Wake
Department for Transport
Licensing, Roadworthiness & Insurance Division
Vehicle Roadworthiness & Enforcement Branch (LRI 2)
2/09 Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DR
E-mail to: vehicleroadworthiness@dft.gsi.gov.uk

Tel No: 0207 944 6566
Fax No: 0207 944 6523




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