I’m continuing to push for greater action on foreign registered vehicles that have been in the UK for longer than the permissible six months, and would like to see a pilot exercise currently under discussion introduced as a matter of urgency to start tackling the issue.
The Department for Transport’s own figures show that only four out of an estimated 15,000 foreign vehicles using Britain’s roads illegally were caught last year and none were prosecuted.
Foreign registered vehicles can be brought into the country temporarily and used for up to six months but after that time owners need to pay a registration fee, road tax and if the vehicle is more than three years old have a valid MOT.
But while there are figures suggesting around 15,000 vehicles are flouting the rules, the DVLA is unable to act because they cannot track these vehicles and don’t even have a precise number of how many are actually in the UK.
I recently raised the issue in the House of Commons and asked the Secretary of State for Transport what recent progress the DVLA has made with the UK Border Force and the police on how data can be used to identify foreign registered vehicles that have been in the UK for longer than six months.
Stephen Hammond explained the DVLA is working with the police about a possible pilot exercise. I would like to see this scheme introduced as soon as possible. It would involve the police linking their own intelligence with DVLA data to target vehicles which have stayed for more than six months and taking enforcement action.
The DVLA and the UK Border Force continue to discuss the use of the UK Border Force’s data, and I would like to see them reach an agreement sooner rather than later.
Drivers of these vehicles are avoiding paying for the right to use our roads, and they are costing the taxpayer around £3 million a year in lost revenue as a result.
The vehicles are untested, which means they could potentially be unsafe and they are being driven illegally as the drivers do not have the necessary documents to allow them onto our roads.
It is not fair on other motorists who do pay the full costs to drive on our roads, and I think it is only right that tougher action is taken on illegal foreign vehicles.
It is clear the current system is failing and I will continue to fight for the changes needed.