Road Vehicles (Approval) Regulations 2020


These regulations apply an updated type approval process for motor vehicles and trailers.

These regulations support the application of the EU Type Approval Regulation (EU) 2018/858, which will be retained as UK law after the end of the post-Brexit transition period.



The Road Vehicles (Approval) Regulations 2020 implement the Type Approval Regulation (EU) 2018/858 on the approval and market surveillance of motor vehicles and their trailers. The 2020 regulations came into force on 1 September 2020.

The 2020 regulations revoked the Road Vehicles (Approval) Regulations 2009 and eight other statutory instruments relating to type approval.

What has changed?

The 2020 regulations enforce the Type Approval Regulation, which will be retained as UK law at the end of the post-Brexit transition period. The regulations set out the domestic penalty regime and widen the potential for the application of civil penalties.

What is Type Approval?

Type approval requires manufacturers of a new model of vehicle to test it against applicable safety and environmental standards and to obtain approval prior to placing it on sale. The 2020 regulations aim to improve the functioning of the type approval regime for road vehicles (e.g. cars, buses and goods vehicles, and their trailers), to ensure a high level of safety and environmental performance.

Development of the new EU vehicle type approval framework was influenced by the VW defeat device scandal in 2015.

Approval Types

The three categories of approval under the Type Approval Regulation are:

  • EU type approval;
  • National small series type approvals (NSSTA) (for vehicle placed on the market in limited numbers, as detailed here); and
  • Individual vehicle approval (IVA) (for those making or importing a single vehicle or a very small number of vehicles of the same type). See guidance.

Approval Authorities

The Vehicle Certification Authority (VCA) is the designated UK Approval Authority for motor vehicles in relation to EU type approval and NSSTA. IVA is given by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

The market surveillance required by the Type Approval Regulation and Regulation (EC) No 765/2008 are also conducted by the DVSA.

Applications for Approval

Type approval applications will be refused if the vehicle do not meet the relevant requirements for that type. Regulation 8 provides a mechanism to review refusal decisions.

Manufacturers must supply the correct application documentation or the approval authority may treat applications as having been withdrawn. Approvals already granted may also be withdrawn due to errors or mistakes by the approval authority.

Testing stations may be provided by approval authorities to examine relevant products.

Record Keeping

EU or national small series vehicle type approval holders must keep records of tests and checks that demonstrate conformity to the approved type for five years.

Records must demonstrate:

Licensing of Vehicles

Licences may only be granted for vehicles if an EU certificate of conformity, national small series certificate of conformity or individual approval certificate is in place.

Conditions relating to large and small trailers are detailed in Chapter 2 of Part 4.

Defeat Systems

Placing vehicles fitted with defeat systems on the market is an offence, subject to limited exceptions in Regulation 14(3).


The domestic penalty regime is set out in Schedules 4 and 5. This extends the application of civil penalties, in addition to the previous regime of criminal penalties for more serious or persistent cases of non-compliance.

Digital Radios

The regulations also implement Article 113 of EU Directive 2018/1972 to require that digital radios are fitted in all new passenger vehicles.



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