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Final ATF contract a big improvement says Freight Transport Association

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency’s (VOSA’s) plans to introduce Alternative Testing Facilities (ATFs) across the country will be improved significantly by the contractual changes it has made to ensure ATF operators are better protected, according to leading trade body the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

Andy Mair, Head of Engineering Policy, said:

"The previous contract was unworkable as it was heavily tilted in VOSA’s favour and would have deterred potential ATF operators from signing up. It is clear that they have listened to FTA and put in safeguards to protect future ATFs from poor VOSA performance, which would have been a more serious concern in the teething stages of the scheme."

Despite VOSA’s assurances to the contrary, there is still a question mark over whether enough ATFs will be minded to offer third-party tests or whether some companies will test only their own vehicles. A shortfall in testing options would seriously impair commercial vehicle operators from doing their jobs, especially in the context of recent VOSA test centre closures.

Mair concluded:

"VOSA now needs to focus its attention on to heavily promoting ATFs as viable commercial opportunities and not bulldoze ahead with further closures."

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