of the report in the latest FBHVC newsletter, See the full FBHVC newsletter. More
the Directive on Roadworthiness Testing is now in place. From now on its implementation
is in the hands of the Member States so FBHVC will be looking to encourage the
Department for Transport to apply it sensibly. Following the furore about this
legislation it is probably worth us bearing in mind a couple of things.
the underlying purpose of the Directive is to improve road safety across Europe.
There are of course those who would wish that the UK was not affected by anything
across Europe, but that is not a debate into which the FBHVC can enter. It is
necessary for us to engage fully with the system in order to achieve the best
outcome for our members. And the Directive is not solely, or even mainly, about
historic vehicles. In fact its drafters have tried hard for it not to be about
historic vehicles at all. So the Directive permits Member States to exempt historic
vehicles from the new testing regime. It does
that the UK Department for Transport (DfT) will exempt them.|
has laboured mightily over the terms of the definition of what a historic vehicle
is, but there are genuinely different views across the EU Member States as to
what makes a vehicle authentic and how important actual authenticity is to a historic
Of course the
FBHVC's position was, to simplify, that if it is old and cherished it is historic,
but that does not make the people wrong who think that a vehicle should be fairly
unchanged to qualify. And there is a valid question as to whether our fairly liberal
regime in the UK permitting wide change to engines, brakes, gearboxes and bodies
might not of itself be a safety risk. There, the devil will be in the detail and
every example will be unique.
the definition, part of it really helps us. DVLA already has its 'Historic' tax
status, which they will wish to stick with as already being the national recognition
of a vehicle as historic that the Directive requires. Their approach is already
quite sophisticated in the way, for instance, it assumes buses and HGVs will be
classified by what they do, not what they are.
issue which will face us will be to make sure the DfT finds a practical way to
interpret 'substantial changes in the technical characteristics of its main components'.
DfT have already indicated that they will start by looking at safety, and if safety
is not compromised they will wish to be as flexible as they can. I cannot guarantee
we will satisfy everyone but we really will be making an effort to see that we
have thought of as many of the problems as we can, and get them to the DfT.
we will be looking at testing. The test requirements set out in the Directive
are the minimum standards. The UK may exceed some of them already. We simply don't
know how DfT will wish to adapt the existing MoT to be compliant (which is how
I am sure they will see it), but we will be concentrating on maintaining the most
flexible approach to testing to make it no more difficult to test an old vehicle
which has somehow not met the criterion for being 'historic', than it is now.
this job is just starting. Depending on how DfT deal with their obligation and
with their stakeholders, of whom we are just one, it might be massive, purely
formal, or something in between. It could last for up to four years which is the
maximum time allowed to member states for compliance. We will be taking it seriously.
anyone thinks they have spotted a possible issue, do let me know. Many already
have and I am starting to keep a list to use in support of the task. Don't necessarily
expect a rapid reply as it will be a better use of my time to work up a brief
for DfT than report back individually. And one piece of advice; the less you assume
that everyone in Brussels, London or wherever, concerned with the Directive is
an idiot out to get us, the more seriously your points will be taken. It may interest
you to know that a key official in the commission with specific responsibilities
for this Directive is a Land Rover Series l enthusiast. Hardly a faceless bureaucrat
Report from Bob Owen at the Federation of British Historic Vehicle
Register - MG Car Club - the
leading group for MG V8 enthusiasts at www.v8register.net|