The UKâ€™s Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has announced that one in every 13 lorries tested in roadside checks is fitted with an emissions cheating device.
Between August and November 2017,Â DVSAÂ examiners searched 3,735 lorriesÂ at various locations and found 293 lorries with a cheat device fitted. These alter emission profiles meaning that when tested by official organisations, the vehicle will pass. However, the technology is different to the electronic control unit trickery used by Volkswagen in the Dieselgate scandal.
Northern Irish lorries were most likely to have defeat devices fitted, with 20.4% of tested trucks being found to have been equipped with one. And while 4.9% of foreign-registered lorries were similarly equipped, 8.5% of trucks registered in Great Britain were also caught. The guilty truckers were given ten days to rectify their vehiclesâ€™ failings or face fines of Â£300.
Gareth Llewellyn,Â DVSAÂ Chief Executive, said: â€˜DVSAâ€™s priority is to protect the public from unsafe drivers and vehicles. We are committed to taking dangerous lorries off Britainâ€™s roads. Stopping emissions fraud is a vital part of that.
â€˜Anyone who flouts the law is putting the quality of our air and the health of vulnerable people, at risk. We wonâ€™t hesitate to take action against these drivers, operators and vehicles.â€™
Following the findings, the agency has announced that it will be examining more than 100 operatorsâ€™ vehicle fleets for emission cheat devices. Some of the companies being inspected operate up to 80 vehicles. The DVSAÂ is also passing its findings on to the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain, who have the power to take away an operatorâ€™s licence.
According toÂ Auto Express, One trick said to be used by haulage firms involves fitting an AdBlue â€˜emulatorâ€™. This fools the lorryâ€™s electronic brain into thinkingÂ AdBlueÂ â€“ an emissions-reducing, urea-based liquidâ€“ is being squirted into a vehicleâ€™s exhaust system as it should be, when in fact the AdBlue system has been disabled. In so doing, lorry owners can save on AdBlue, and therefore operating costs, at the expense of air quality.
Richard Turfitt, Senior Traffic Commissioner, added: â€˜Traffic Commissioners welcome the steps being taken by the enforcement agency to identify emissions cheats.
â€˜Use of these devices threatens to undercut responsible and compliant operators as well as damaging the environment and public health. Traffic Commissioners will look to take action wherever an operator seeks an unfair and illegal advantage over the rest of industry.â€™
The UK Government is keen to reduce its air pollution levels, withÂ an air quality reportsuggesting various proposals, and plans toÂ ban both petrol and diesel sales by 2040.