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Lorries: Testing

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many heavy goods vehicle test stations are operated by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency; and what their locations are. (197879)

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency currently has 89 heavy goods vehicle test stations. A list of locations has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the maximum distance is that a road haulier is expected to travel to present his vehicle for examination. (197880)

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA)'s criteria is to provide a testing facility sufficient to accommodate at least 90 per cent. of its customers with a travel distance of 30 miles, or 60 minutes, and that target is currently exceeded by a substantial margin.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether there are plans to change the (a) number and (b) location of Vehicle and Operator Services Agency-operated heavy goods vehicle test stations. (197881)

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) is currently undertaking a strategic review of its operational estate and has not ruled out changes. VOSA has recently relocated the Bristol heavy goods vehicle testing station to a more strategic location in Avonmouth.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether there are plans to alter the (a) numbers and (b) terms of employment of staff employed and based at Vehicle and Operator Services Agency’s heavy goods vehicle test stations. (197883)

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) has (a) no plans to reduce the number of staff employed in technical roles in its HGV test stations. However, there are plans to reduce the number of admin support staff. As part of the DFT Value For Money programme, VOSA has been investing in modern technology and call-handling processes to improve customer service and as a result, fewer admin staff are required. There are plans to reduce the admin work force by 19 FTEs. (b) VOSA has no proposals to change the terms and conditions of staff based at its HGV test stations. However, work has been done to investigate the options for more flexible opening hours for its test stations which may require new contracts to be negotiated.