The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has announced it is checking lorries for emissions cheat devices, with the nationwide rollout of enforcement action.
It follows a successful year-long pilot that saw DVSA enforcement staff catch 449 emission cheats during roadside enforcement checks at five sites across the country.
A lorry fitted with such a device can produce up to 20 times more dangerous emissions.
DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn said: “DVSA’s priority is to protect everyone from unsafe vehicles and drivers.
“A vehicle doesn’t have to be falling apart to be unsafe - any driver or operator who uses cheat devices to get around emissions rules is putting the health of the entire nation at risk.
“DVSA will take the strongest possible action against anyone who tries to cheat emissions rules.”
Emissions cheat devices are used to allow a vehicle to run without a working AdBlue system. AdBlue is used to break harmful emissions down into simple oxygen and nitrogen, rendering them harmless.
A working AdBlue system can cut a vehicle’s harmful emissions by as much as 95%.
Drivers caught with an emissions cheat device or a faulty emissions control system have 10 days to remove the device and repair their emissions system.
If they continue to use a device or fail to repair the system, they could get a £300 fixed penalty fine and have their vehicle immediately taken off the road.
DVSA will then conduct a follow up investigation with the operator and may refer its findings to the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain, who have the power to strip a company of its licence to operate.
The rollout follows the publication of Defra’s Clean Air Strategy 2018 and The Department for Transport’s Road to Zero strategy for reducing road emissions.