The Government has confirmed it will introduce new type approval regulations based on those developed by the EU, following the UK’s exit from the EU.
The EU transition period ends on December 31 2020. After this, EU law on vehicle type approval will no longer have direct effect in GB, although it will still apply in Northern Ireland.
Initially, the GB type approval scheme will be based on the EU scheme because the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 converts EU Regulations on type approval into Retained GB legislation on January 1 2021.
Manufacturers who are not already in possession of GB whole vehicle approvals will need to apply to VCA before January 1 2021, providing details of their EU type approval, and they will be issued with what is being termed a ‘provisional’ GB type approval by VCA.
A number of important measures were introduced in Regulation (EU) 2018/858, which gives the Vehicle Certification Agency and the DVSA enhanced powers of scrutiny over manufacturers and test agencies.
Civil penalties can be issued for non-compliance with type approval regulations.
The penalty regime is similar to existing regimes for other vehicle categories, whereby civil offences are available for all offences, with a maximum fine of £50,000 per offence. Criminal offences are also available to the enforcement authorities, for the more serious offences.
Deadlines are also set for the sell-off of tyres which do not meet the requirements on wet grip, rolling resistance and rolling noise. These deadlines are 30 months after the dates specified for the last fitment of such tyres to new vehicles and last manufacture of such tyres. Sale of such a tyre was not previously an offence in the UK, but will now be an offence subject to the penalties set out in the regulations.
The regulation also contains a requirement that where new passenger vehicles (cars and buses) are fitted with a radio, that radio must be capable of receiving digital radio stations, in line with the European Electronic Communications Code. This is not part of the type approval system but simply applies to all new passenger vehicles placed on the market after December 21 2020.