The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs is sympathetic to the enormous challenges that the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency faces during the on-going pandemic. DVLA continue to receive tens of thousands of items of mail each week and the Federation believes that for a high percentage of drivers and vehicle operators, the agency performs a viable and efficient service.
The Federation also acknowledges the efforts of the staff at Swansea in achieving the continuation of services during the current times, despite reports of a significant outbreak of Covid-19 within the Agency, with some 500 cases quoted. The impact that this outbreak will have on the DVLA providing services due to staff shortages is very understandable.
The Federation, whilst sensitive to the challenges we are all facing, has continued to work on behalf of the historic vehicle community during the pandemic. One of the key areas of the Federation’s work remains within continued dialogue with the DVLA on a range of matters on behalf of historic vehicle owners and clubs.
During the pandemic, the Federation has been pursuing five particular policy matters of significant concern to the interests of Federation members and the community that they represent.
These are broadly outlined as follows:
• Non-acceptance of ‘Date of Manufacture’ number marked on vehicles.
• Statement of a requirement to notify DVLA when a vehicle is dismantled.
• Special case V765 registrations.
• Vehicles originally supplied as CKD (meaning ‘Completely Knocked Down’).
• Original and copied documents and new bodies on re-constructed classics.
The Federation’s work in resolving concerns around these DVLA policies was not helped by a communication received that stated in each of the five cases; “This action point is now considered closed”, whilst discussions were very much still on-going. However, the Federation wishes to stress in no uncertain terms that post-pandemic, these matters will be raised again with the utmost urgency and historic vehicle owners are assured that the subjects have not been put to one side.
A further example of a matter of concern currently being pursued with DVLA, involves one of the Federation’s museum members, Transport Museum Wythall. The museum has held a Trade Licence for over 30 years to assist in the maintenance of their fleet, but has suddenly been told by DVLA that their application has been declined.
Denis Chick, Press Officer for Transport Museum Wythall said;
“As very much a working museum, Transport Museum Wythall has a strict maintenance regime for its vehicle collection and requires a licence to ensure on-going compliance with the regulations. We pride ourselves in having the majority of our buses ‘on the button’, providing rides into the country at all of our events. DVLA effectively shut down high-level policy discussions in January 2020 due to Covid-19 so to suddenly be told that our licence has now been declined for no apparent reason is totally unacceptable – we will fight on, as Covid-19 should not be an excuse for such actions.”
The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs represents over 250,000 historic vehicle enthusiasts owning 1.5m historic vehicles on the DVLA database and a movement that contributes £7.2bn to the UK economy.
Whilst all these matters remain extremely important, the Federation has taken the current standpoint to remain patient and understanding during the current global crisis and to work at keeping dialogue open with DVLA in readiness for when more normal operations resume. The Federation encourages its members to do the same.