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Is this the end of the road for VIC?

VIC review
DFT want your views on VIC and the current salvage categorisation system.
The Department for Transport (DFT) has just announced a review of the VIC scheme, and for the current system of salvage categorisation. A consultation document has been issued that provides the figures on the number of VICs undertaken and the detection of ‘ringers’. This is great news for the UK dismantling and salvage industry. It’s your opportunity to tell Government what you think of this scheme.

In the current economic environment and with the Government keen to cut ‘red tape’ and remove useless regulation, this has got to be a prime candidate for the dustbin. The VIC scheme was established in 2003 as a means to detect and prevent vehicle ‘ringing', which was a serious problem in the 1990s. It requires all category A, B and C total loss vehicles to undergo an examination to confirm their identity before they can be returned to use on the road in the UK (even though the Code of Practice for the Handling of Motor Salvage states that category A and B vehicles should never be returned to the road). But times have moved on. Improved vehicle security technology in the last 20 years has probably contributed more to the decline in ‘ringing’ than VIC. So VIC now represents legislation that has ‘seen its day’.

Cat C vehicles cannot initially be taxed in the normal way on-line or at the local Post Office, but only at a DVLA local office or by post. In this respect, to date there seems to have been little discussion about the consequences of the planned closure of all DVLA local offices in 2013.

DFT reveals that only 38 ‘ringers’ have been identified by the scheme since 2003 from a total of 717,000 vehicles presented for testing at a cost of £30m – that’s a whopping £790,000 for each vehicle detected! But even this doesn’t paint the full picture. DFT has been ‘selective’ with the information. The £30m only includes the cost of the test itself (which started at £36 but then increased to £41). It takes no account of the considerable costs involved in transporting the vehicles to and from the VIC test stations (which are few and far between), or the delay and inconvenience caused in waiting for a test (delays of over a month have been reported in the past). In addition to this, it is an indisputable fact that the marking the V5 devalues the vehicle. All in all, the cost of the VIC is considerably greater than £30m.

Since 2003 there have been over 2 million category C vehicles. But with only 717,000 having undergone VIC, where are the rest? No-one seems to know including the one Government department that should – DVLA. But there is growing evidence that large numbers of Cat C vehicles are scrapped illegally in the UK or travel overseas for repair or dismantling.

Should this scheme continue, with the forthcoming closures of the DVLA local offices, it would be sensible to allow cat C vehicles to be taxed at post-offices, in the same way as normal vehicles. But unless POs were able to authenticate the VIC certificates, it would not be very easy. If you are a member of the MVDA let them know what you think. If you’re not a member of the MVDA, then you really should be. The more members they have, the more representation they have with Government and the more seriously their views are taken. Get in touch with them now and do your part. MVDA led the industry back in 2002/3 in arguing against the introduction of VIC and many of the problems foreseen by the MVDA have occurred. Now you have the opportunity to change this and there seems to be an appetite in Government for change.

Anybody can reply to the consultation – whether you’re a trade organisation, large multi-national company or sole trader. Your views are important. So don’t sit on your hands. Do something now!

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