SMMT has announced that it has successfully negotiated a valuable Van Enhancement Scheme that removes the requirement for UK-based van manufacturers and bodybuilders to seek Type Approval on basic vehicle modifications.
Under legislation set to hit N1 category vehicles from April this year (and N2 vehicles from October 2014), any modification would have required separate Whole Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA). The Enhancement Scheme, secured by SMMT with VCA and VOSA, removes the requirement for basic modifications (ply-lining, basic racking, etc) to be approved.
“SMMT has worked hard to achieve this crucial Type Approval change that will avoid unnecessary paperwork and save UK businesses thousands of pounds every year,” said SMMT Commercial Vehicle Manager Nigel Base. “We have found a solution that works for all parties while maintaining safety standards for those converters making basic modifications to panel vans. This sort of administrative burden could have forced some firms out of business, but thanks to close collaboration with industry partners and government this will now be avoided.”
Over the past 10 months SMMT has worked with a group of van manufacturer and converter members, the VCA, VOSA and the Department for Transport to try and reduce the regulatory burden of Type Approval. The process has achieved a result that will see around 80% of vans sold in the UK avoid the burdensome Type Approval requirements, with another 15% of the market benefitting from an enhanced process of application and approval of multiple vehicle types.
Clive Woodward, group managing director of Bott said, “The Van Enhancement Scheme appears to offer a fair compromise between a potentially overbearing administrative burden for achieving full multi-stage WVTA on a wide number of LCV variants, and no regulation at all. At least with this scheme, fleet operators working with VCA-approved converters can have assurance that their limited conversions meet minimum VCA/VOSA standards for WVTA. Bott and other leading conversion companies in the industry have pushed for this solution and the DfT has shown that consultation works.
The Scheme now needs to be implemented, tested and later refined in-line with experience gained.”
Those converters that need to go through the Enhancement route will benefit from an upgraded version of SMMT’s online Type Approval guide – SENTA. The tool guides companies through all combinations of Whole Vehicle Type Approval, streamlining the process and saving companies time and costs.
“We welcome the Whole Vehicle Type Approval legislation and the safeguards this will put into place; regulation is key to protecting the industry,” said Samantha Roff, Managing Director of Venson.
“However, it is also important that the unnecessary disruption caused by the process to those businesses making relatively minor modifications to vehicles was recognised and a solution sought.
The Enhancement Scheme ensures vehicle manufacturer standards are upheld, while minimising the impact of modifications on both businesses and their customers.”
A view echoed by Bob Cooper, managing director of Trukrax, “We welcome the 2007/46/EC European Commission Whole Vehicle Type Approval regulations and were pleased to work with the SMMT, VCA, DfT and other industry members in achieving a Van Enhancement Scheme. We congratulate SMMT for its work in this matter that will enable the industry to comply with the regulations in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”