20,000 test centres may be closed
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• Goods vehicles not exceeding 30cwt unladen may have to report to heavy goods vehicle testing stations if the Government's proposal to reduce the car and light vehicle testing centres from 22,000 to 2000 is introduced. The proposal is at present before a working group comprising the Motor Agents' Association. the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the Scottish Motor Trade Association and the Department of the Environment.
Failure rate among light goods vehicles under the present system is running at 34 per cent.
The DoE hinted this week that if the proposals were accepted, additional tests might be introduced for all cars and light vehicles since the standards set for approved stations would be much higher and these stations would be in a position to install equipment for more extensive tests. A spokesman for the Motor Agents' Association believed that the DoE would take this opportunity to introduce metal corrosion tests together with smoke and noise tests.
If the light goods vehicles were transferred to heavy goods vehicle testing stations there might be some adjustment in the £1.25 test fee which they pay at present as the test fee at hgv testing stations for two-axle vehicles is £5.
If it is decided that the light goods vehicles will continue to be tested at the 2000 remaining centres this will mean an average throughput of 10 commercial vehicles per week in addition to the private cars at each centre.