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Policy and regulations

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This page highlights some of the policies and regulations that underpin the safe and sustainable operation of HGVs and provides links to further sources of information. Please note that this is not intended to be a comprehensive guide.

Operator licensing and driver training

  • You need a goods vehicle operator’s licence if your business uses goods vehicles above a certain weight. Vehicle operator licensing is regulated by the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain. For further information see here.
  • You must also make sure that any drivers you use or employ have the correct licence and training. All vehicles that you use should be correctly taxed and kept safe and in good condition at all times. For further information, see here.
  • Goods vehicles with a gross weight of more than 3,500kg must take the annual test. The first test should be 12 months after the vehicle was first registered with DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency). Further information is available here.
  • Professional lorry drivers need to hold a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC). Further information is available here.
  • If you employ or give work to foreign drivers, you should make sure they understand the rules for driving in the UK. The Highways Agency has produced guides for foreign HGV drivers in six languages.

Drivers’ hours

  • If you drive a goods vehicle or a passenger-carrying vehicle you must follow the rules on how many hours you can drive and the breaks that you need to take. For further information, please see here.
  • As an employer, you must monitor your mobile workers’ working time (which includes driving) and make sure they don’t go over the limit. You must record working time and keep the records for at least two years. For further information, please see here.
  • Tachographs record information about driving time, speed and distance. They are used to make sure drivers and employers follow the rules on drivers’ hours. Further advice is available here.

Direct Vision Standard

  • The Direct Vision Standard (DVS) is being developed by Transport for London and will apply to HGVs operating in London. The standard assesses and rates how much a HGV driver can see directly from their cab in relation to other road users. For further information, please see here.

Clean air zones (CAZs)

  • The UK has challenging legal obligations in relation to NO2 limits and is required to achieve compliance in the shortest possible time.
  • The government has required 28 local authorities to develop local air quality plans to bring forward compliance dates within the shortest possible time. This may involve establishing clean air zones. The government has required a further 33 local authorities to conduct studies to identify measures that could bring forward compliance dates within the shortest possible time.
  • For clean air zones, the government has set out a hierarchy of options for local authorities to consider, with charging clean air zones being one possible measure.
  • In some cases, HGVs classed as Euro V or below will incur a charge for entering a Clean Air Zone.
  • The Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme is a robust certification scheme for manufacturers to seek accreditation for any retrofit technologies which can bring pre-Euro VI trucks up to Euro VI equivalent emission standards and provide lower-cost options for achieving clean air zone compliance. Further information is available here.

London’s ultra-low emission zone

  • The Mayor of London introduced the UK’s first ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) on 8 April 2019. For further information, please see here.
  • The ULEZ currently applies to the same area of central London as the Congestion Charging Zone; most vehicles will need to meet minimum Euro emission standards (Euro VI for HGVs) or pay a daily charge to travel.
  • On 1 March 2021, the Mayor of London introduced new London-wide ULEZ standards for heavy duty vehicles (buses, coaches and lorries and larger vehicles).
  • On 25 October 2021, London’s ULEZ is expanding from central London up to the north and south circular roads for light vehicles.