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Specialist Testing for Passenger Vehicles

The two specialist tests for coaches and buses are an additional requirement to the annual test for certain types of passenger vehicles.

Information in this section explains how to get a vehicle tested for a Low Emissions Certificate (LEC) and which vehicles need testing on seat belt installation.

Additional Tests for Coaches and Buses

DVSA staff conduct the annual test for commercial vehicles every year to check if they are in a roadworthy condition and following regulations.

But, the extra specialist tests for coaches and buses are for:

  • Qualifying for a Low Emissions Certificate (LEC) to get free entrance to the London Low Emission Zone (LEZ).
  • Meeting British safety standards on seat belt installations.

Reduced Emissions Testing

As a rule, getting a vehicle tested for a Low Emissions Certificate (LEC) would allow you to drive it in the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) without having to pay.

Note: The Reduced Pollution Certificate (RPC) scheme to reduce vehicle tax ended on the 31st of December 2016.

Low Emissions Certificate Eligibility

To be tested for a Low Emissions Certificate the vehicle would need to be:

  • Registered in the United Kingdom before the 1st of October 2006.
  • Fitted with a full filter to TfL emissions standards for the Low Emission Zone.

Note: A vehicle with a Euro 4, 5, or 6 engine does not require a Low Emission Certificate.

Converted and Re-engined Vehicles

Contact the DVLA if your vehicle has been fitted or converted to run solely on petrol or it has had an approved gas conversion.

But, you should contact Transport for London (TfL) instead if the vehicle has been ‘re-engined’ to meet Low Emission Zone standards.

TfL Low Emission Zone
Email: [email protected] or make an enquiry online
Telephone: 0343 222 1111
International: +44 (0)343 222 1111
Monday to Friday: 8am to 10pm
Saturday: 9am to 3pm
Check UK call charge costs.

Booking Low Emissions Certificate Testing

Only an authorised testing facility or a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) test station can conduct the test. You would need to provide:

  • Vehicle registration number
  • Vehicle identification or chassis number
  • Make, model, and date of manufacture
  • The details of any modifications made to meet the emissions standard
  • Payment for the Low Emissions Certificate (e.g. HGV test fees)

Note: Having the test done at the same time as the annual test (MOT) for lorries, buses and trailers will work out cheaper.

Low Emissions Certificate Test Procedures

You will need to take the previous Low Emissions Certificate (or Reduced Pollution Certificate) if the vehicle has been tested before.

Failing to take the previous certificate means they may cancel the test and you would need to pay the charge again.

The two parts of the Low Emissions Certificate test are:

  • A physical inspection to check any modifications (e.g. a filter fitted to the exhaust).
  • A smoke opacity test to check the vehicle’s emissions.

Getting a Test Result

Providing the vehicle passes the LEC inspection you will receive a Low Emissions Certificate. The DVSA would forward the details of the vehicle to Transport for London (TfL) by automatic process.

It takes around three (3) days for TfL to update your details. Following this, you will be able to drive your vehicle for free in the Low Emission Zone.

Note: You would need to register with TfL if you are driving a vehicle registered outside of Great Britain. Failing to register yourself as the driver can result in a fine up to £1,000.

What if Your Vehicle Fails the LEC Test?

You should use form LEC3 to appeal the result of a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) or a public service vehicle (PSV) test for a Low Emissions Certificate (LEC). Send the completed form to the DVSA address (stated on the LEC3).

Renewing a Low Emissions Certificate

There will be an expiry date on the Low Emissions Certificate. So, to continue driving in the Low Emission Zone without paying, you would need to get your vehicle tested again before it runs out.

Note: Driving in the Low Emission Zone without a valid Low Emissions Certificate can result in a £1,000 fine.

Seat Belt Installation Test

Some of the specialist test procedures for coaches, buses, and minibuses apply to the manufacturers. It means they must ensure their seat belts conform to certain safety rules and regulations.

Which Vehicles Need Testing?

Some vehicles may have additional seat belts fitted beyond the standard ones required by motoring laws in the United Kingdom. As such, the vehicles that need to be tested will include any that:

  • Are a private passenger vehicle with more than eight (8) passenger seats and was first used on or after the 1st of October 2001.
  • Are a public service vehicle (PSV).

Vehicles exempt from testing include:

  • Private passenger vehicles registered before the 1st of October 2001.
  • Buses made to carry standing passengers (any that have seat belts will need to have them checked).
  • Public service vehicles that need a Certificate of Initial Fitness (COIF).

Arranging a Seat Belt Test

You can get a specialist test for coach and bus seat belt installation (e.g. passenger vehicles) at either of these centres:

As a rule, the testing of seat belts is part of the process of obtaining a COIF on new vehicles. But, manufacturers can carry out the tests on their own seat belts providing they have the appropriately trained staff and the correct equipment.

Contact the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency for further advice and information about testing the seat belts on your own passenger vehicles.

Email: [email protected]
Telephone: 0300 123 9000
Call charges information.

Specialist Tests for Coaches and Buses in the United Kingdom