Key stakeholders oppose ‘anti-tampering’ proposals

Government plans to introduce new anti-tampering legislation continue to be rejected by key motorcycle stakeholders.

In September 2021, the DfT launched a consultation looking at modernising vehicle standards, including vehicle tampering.

Concerns over the proposals were immediately raised by the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), who feared they would prevent all modifications or customisation of any vehicle.

They were echoed by the National Motorcycle Council (NMC) – who said the consultation was ‘worded in such a way that suggests that all types of modifications of motorcycles will be outlawed’.

Both MAG and the NMC sought clarification on the issues – and during a meeting with stakeholders, the DfT acknowledged the consultation was not specific enough.

As a result, it published an updated version of the consultation, which states: 

We would like to emphasise that our policy intention is to prevent modifications that have a negative impact on road safety, vehicle security and the environment.

We do not intend our proposals to:

  • prevent legitimate motorsport activities
  • prevent restoration, repairs or legitimate improvements to vehicles, such as classic cars or motorbikes
  • negatively impact businesses involved in these activities

The NMC says this clarification still leaves ‘room for wide interpretation’, given that it can be argued that multiple systems and components can come under the definitions of safety, security and the ‘environment. 

It adds there is also no clarification of intent regarding the general modification or customisation of modern and non-classic motorcycles.

Craig Carey-Clinch, NMC executive director said: “Although we appreciated talking directly to the DfT’s consultation team about the proposals and welcomed their offer of further dialogue as proposals are developed, a lack of detailed clarity about the Government’s intentions remains. 

“The DfT needs to provide the detail required to enable NMC members to consider the proportionality of any legislation and the scope of these when it comes to motorcycle components.  

“Without that detail we are unable to support the poorly defined ‘Tackling Tampering’ proposals as they stand.”

MAG has taken a similar stance, pointing out that customisation of non-classic vehicles is not specifically mentioned.

Colin Brown, MAG’s director of campaigns and political engagement, said: “While the clarification does provide some reassurance, it falls far short of what we would accept. I am disappointed that we have not been supplied with the list of claimed legislative gaps. 

“We see the only sensible solution to be a rejection of the proposals. The Government needs to provide the detail required to enable us to consider the proportionality of any legislation.”

The consultation closed on 22 November.

29 November 2021

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