Government responded on 21/12/2021

The intention of the consultation proposal is to prevent modifications that negatively impact on road safety, vehicle security and the environment.

See the full response here

Our ‘Future of Transport’ work is a broad and ambitious programme focused on supporting the industry. The regulatory review aims to ensure our transport regulations are fit for the future. As part of the Future of Transport: Modernising Vehicle Standards regulatory review, we have put forward proposals to enable Government to better target and prevent harmful tampering with vehicle emission control systems, as well as with safety and security critical systems, parts and components.

We are not proposing that all modifications be prevented, and we recognise there are legitimate reasons why a vehicle owner or business may want to modify a vehicle. Our proposals are not intended to hinder activities such as motorsports, restoration, repairs, or legitimate improvements and alterations to vehicles, or indeed do any damage to the businesses involved in these activities.

Nevertheless, certain modifications can negatively affect the safety and health of the vehicle owner, its occupants, other road users, and the wider population.

Tampering activities that prevent a vehicle’s emissions system from operating correctly, such as the removal of the diesel particulate filter from a vehicle’s exhaust, can significantly increase a vehicle’s harmful pollutant emissions.

Therefore, as vehicles become increasingly automated, we want to prevent alterations to a vehicle’s integral software and sensing technologies which could create safety and security risks. A badly modified vehicle has the potential to kill its occupants and other road users. It is also essential that we ensure modern vehicles remain cyber secure throughout their lifetime, and that any modifications do not make them vulnerable to malicious cyber-attacks.

The MOT test is an important part of ensuring that vehicles on our roads are safe and roadworthy. However, we must also recognise that the MOT test is fundamentally an inspection of a vehicle as presented at the time of a test and can only be a simple check.

There are risks in relying solely upon the MOT test to tackle harmful tampering. For example, it only includes basic checks for the presence and/or function of certain emissions control equipment and is not proof that the relevant emissions standards are being met. It is therefore important that we also have the powers to target and prevent tampering activities that negatively affect road safety, vehicle security and the environment.

We opened a consultation on these measures on 28 September, which closed on 22 November. The Government will consider all responses received and publish a consultation response summarising the responses and setting out the next steps. Any legislative proposals taken forward will be carefully defined so they do not prevent vehicle owners or businesses from making legitimate modifications to vehicles.

Department for Transport