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GOVERNMENT MAY MODERATE ANTI-TAMPERING STANCE

The House of Commons has favourably debated a petition opposing potential new regulations on vehicle “anti-tampering”, which attracted more than 115,000 signatures. The original proposals were revealed in a consultation on “The Future of Transport Regulatory Review – Modernising Vehicle Standards” during 2021.

This consultation proved to be highly controversial, given it was worded in a way that suggests all types of modifications to motorcycles would be outlawed. It also went further by advocating a ban on the marketing, promotion and sale of “tampering services or products”. The National Motorcyclists Council (NMC) and other biker organisations responded, rejecting the proposals and called on the government to clarify what it means by “tampering”.

In the debate, which was opened by Nick Fletcher from the parliamentary petitions committee, several MPs spoke against the proposals as they stand, citing concerns about the damage extensive anti-tampering regulations could do to the classic vehicle sector, motor and motorcycle sports, and the aftermarket parts, accessories and customisation sectors.

Notably, high-profile backbencher and member of the parliamentary motorcycle group Steve Baker explained how sensible modifications have improved his own riding experience. Responding for the government, junior transport minister Trudy Harrison spoke warmly about the long heritage of vehicle modification and the industries which support it.

Harrison went on to say that government plans should protect a healthy aftermarket sector, as well as motor sports and classic vehicles. And she firmly stated that any new regulations will not be retrospective, with new measures aimed particularly at tampering with advanced and autonomous driving systems, and modifications that increase emissions from new and future generations of vehicles.

Commenting on these outcomes, NMC executive director Craig Carey-Clinch said: “Nick Fletcher should be thanked for steering this debate, where he concluded by saying he felt that the government has listened to concerns. And the minister’s response indicated this could be the case.”

Carey-Clinch added: “Ruling out historic vehicles is a welcome step. But, as always, the devil will be in the detail concerning this and in relation to safety and emissions systems. We will await the government’s more finite plans with interest, to see if the minister’s encouraging words translate into a positive result.”

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