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New scheme to remove Type Approval headache for many van fleets

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) from UK-based van manufacturers and bodybuilders.

The new Van Enhancement Scheme, which has been secured by the SMMT with VCA and VOSA, removes the requirement for basic modifications. As a result around 80% of vans sold in the UK will avoid the cost and burden of getting 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.’

Those converters that need to go through the Enhancement route will benefit from an upgraded version of SMMT's online Type Approval guide – SENTA (www.smmt.co.uk/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.’ 

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.