The DVSA handed the two-year testing bans after the mechanics were found to be actively advertising and selling a diesel particulate filter (DPF) removal service.
DPF Solutions Sheffield Limited removed the filters from cars intended to be driven on Britain’s roads, posing a clear threat to air quality and public health.
The DVSA investigation also uncovered sister company, MB Services Yorkshire, advertising the service.
MB Services Yorkshire’s owner, Mark Brace claimed that the firms were unconnected but the investigation revealed that the two firms shared the same address and some of the same staff and shareholders – these included Mr Brace’s sons, Ricky and Ross Brace.
The two companies regularly ‘recommended’ each other on social media, boasting that their DPF removal services were “MOT friendly” and “hard to notice”.
DVSA chief executive, Gareth Llewellyn said: “We take the quality of MOT testing extremely seriously, have carried out almost 10,000 visits, assessments and re-examinations and continue to work with the industry to improve test quality.
“We’ll withdraw the right to provide MOTs, and even prosecute garages who fail to meet the required standards, including those who pose a risk to air quality by removing DPFs or installing other emissions ‘cheat’ devices.”
In 2014, DVSA formally notified test stations that if they offered a DPF removal service the agency would consider that this brought the MOT Scheme into disrepute.
However, some workshops continue to offer removal services with the claim that removal will improve the vehicle’s performance, or is cheaper than replacing the current DPF.
Last year, 761 warnings or disqualifications were issued to MOT garage or testers who carried out improper tests that endanger road users.
What the law says
It is an offence, under the Road Vehicles Regulations to use a vehicle which has been modified in such a way that it no longer complies with the air pollutant emissions standards it was designed to meet.
For drivers, the potential penalties for driving a vehicle without a diesel particulate filter are fines of up to £1,000 for a car or £2,500 for a light goods vehicle.
Stopping test stations from removing diesel particulate filters is one of a number of measures DVSA is taking to support the government’s strategy to improve air quality.
From August this year the agency has been including emissions cheat devices in the roadside checks it conducts on lorries in Britain’s roads.
Do you you support the DVSA’s new tougher stance? Do you know workshops that continue to offer these services? Share your comments and any concerns below.