DVSA reviews suspension of accepting new ATF applications

As part of the Heavy Vehicle Testing Review, The Department for Transport has recommended that the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) should consider allowing more Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs) to open. 

Until now DVSA has temporarily paused applications for new ATFs. This has sometimes been called a moratorium. The DVSA stopped accepting new applications to set up ATFs in 2017 to help it support existing ATFs and meet their needs.

DVSA and industry bodies have reviewed this policy and developed a plan with several steps to allow applications for new ATFs.  

As a first step towards ending the moratorium, DVSA will now accept new applications if a proposed ATF: 

  1. It is a move of premises for an existing ATF, but it is within the same geographic area
  2. Already has ‘approval in principle’ from DVSA
  3. Is in an area with a substantial shortage of ATFs, currently Orkney and mainland Highlands of Scotland
  4. Is in Southern England and is offering testing of fully laden fuel tankers (this is often known as a full pet. reg. site) or ADR testing
  5. Will significantly improve the service to heavy vehicle operators, by reduced journey times or other efficiency benefits. Applications made under this criteria will be prioritised based on the certainty and scale of improvement in service the proposed ATF can offer


Operators who may be interested in joining the ATF network by opening a testing site can make an application under any of the 5 criteria from now. The DVSA have made some minor changes to the application form to include these criteria. You can find further guidance on how to apply to open an ATF.

Next steps

Applications will need to be assessed to ensure that requirements are met. Once approved and contracts are in place, staff will be scheduled “as soon as possible,” says the DVSA. “However, testing staff are scheduled some months ahead, so start dates may not be immediate,” it adds.

DVSA knows there will be businesses which do not qualify under these criteria, and there will be further announcements on how these criteria will be widened in the future. 

DVSA is working with industry bodies to develop this plan and it welcomes feedback on the future priorities through your trade organisation.  

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