DVSA has successfully removed 31 defective and dangerous vans in two targeted operations in London.

At operations Lemon and Marmalade examiners found 14 overloaded vehicles. One of the vehicles was over 2 tonnes (37.82%) overweight, loaded with tree stumps and tools. The driver was also found to be driving under the influence of drugs and was arrested by the Met Police.

DVSA targeting of overloaded light goods vehicles (LGVs) has seen the issue become the most common offence for prosecution over the past 5 years.

Overloading compromises the stability, steering and braking capability of a vehicle. This means the vehicle will behave differently on the road, posing a danger to the driver and other road users.

Operation Marmalade was carried out on 1 and 2 July at London Gateway services working alongside the Metropolitan Police, Environment Agency and Barnet Council.

DVSA examined 21 vans and found 9 that were overweight, discovering a total of 28 roadworthiness defects at the check site on the M1.

One of vehicles that had been overloaded with temporary fencing was found to be almost three quarters of a tonne (21%) overweight. Examiners also found excessively worn brakes and an underinflated tyre on the same flatbed van.

Another van was found to have brakes that were completely worn away, with swarf showing the grinding of metal against metal.

The operation was organised in response to an increase in fly tipping in the local area. The Environment Agency were one of the agencies supporting the operation.

Alex Chown, Environment Manager for the Environment Agency, said:

“These multi-agency days of action provide a great opportunity for us to work together, checking waste vehicles have the correct paperwork and they’re transporting waste legally. These road stops also help us gain intelligence on illegal waste sites we weren’t previously aware of.

“Everyone is responsible for the proper disposal of their rubbish, and I encourage them to check their waste carrier is properly licensed, to avoid the risk of their waste being fly tipped.”

Operation Lemon was held on 20 July took place at Spitalfields Market in Leyton at 4am alongside the Metropolitan Police.

DVSA intelligence had led examiners to suspect that vehicles leaving the wholesale fruit and vegetable market would be overloaded.

Examiners checked a total of 14 vehicles and found that 5 vehicles were overweight and that 7 of the vehicles were taken off the road immediately due to mechanical issues including lights, tyres and steering.

In both these operations any vehicles taken off the road by DVSA were immobilised until the mechanical issues were fixed and any additional weight had been removed.

DVSA’s Head of Enforcement Delivery Laura Great-Rex said:

“DVSA’s priority is protecting everyone from unsafe drivers and vehicles. 

“Once again it is disappointing to conduct another operation which has found delivery vans that were a danger to other road users due to being overloaded and in a poor condition.

“Delivery companies and their drivers have a responsibility for making sure their vehicles are in a good roadworthy condition at the start of every journey and we accept no excuses.

“We are delighted that we are joined by our partners in working to tackle these road safety issues.”

Inspector Richard Wenham, Met Police Roads and Transport Policing Command, said:

“The Met’s Commercial Vehicle Unit was pleased to lend its expertise to DVSA colleagues with this operation as part of a multi-agency approach to road safety. 

“A number of vehicles examined were found to be over-weight and have other mechanical defects, meaning they were not roadworthy and potentially dangerous to the driver and other road users. 

“Our operation meant that such vehicles were taken off the roads until their weight or mechanical faults are rectified.” 

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