Thursday 9th May 2019 saw new UK law come into effect that ended a 15-year exemption for diesel bowsers that do not adhere to ADR road carriage requirements.
Why do the ADR/CDG apply to diesel?
Diesel is classed as a dangerous good because of its flammability and as such its transport on roads is regulated by the ADR. In 2004, red diesel (gas oil) and diesel (derv) were both reclassified as flammable and combustible liquids. As a result, new road carriage requirements regulated by the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) had to make sure these fuels are transported safely on public roads, to eliminate the risk of spillage.
What is ADR?
ADR is the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) finalised in Geneva on 30 September 1957. The UK put the requirements of ADR into national legislation known as “The Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2007 (CDG).
The 15-year exemption period was introduced by the Department of Transport to give industries ample time to adapt to the new means of transport. These standards were only temporary, but in the interim, allowed the use of certain bowsers as intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), as long as they:
• Have a maximum capacity of 3,000 litres or less;
• Are designed for mechanical handling;
• Are resistant to the stresses produced in handling and carriage;
• Are not be permanently fixed to a motor vehicle or trailer (may be temporarily fitted for safety during transport);
• Are safe and suitable for the carriage of diesel;
• Are submitted for periodic re-inspection if requested.
How did it apply to bowsers?
In 2004, the Department of Transport (DfT) authorised the continued use of certain bowsers that did not meet the ADR standards for a period of 15 years, giving businesses time in which to adapt. The period ended on 9 May 2019.
Under this authorisation, certain bowsers made before 10 May 2004 were classed as Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) rather than a tank and, as a result, they did not have to meet the full requirements. However, the pre-2004 bowsers that benefitted from authorisation 1 will no longer be able to continue in use on road as they are not approved containers/tanks.
What were the rules for Bowsers to be treated as IBCs?
From May 2004 bowsers to be treated as IBC’s had to have/be: a maximum capacity of 3,000 litres; designed for mechanical handing; resistant to the stresses produced in handling and carriage; not permanently fixed to a motor vehicle or trailer; safe and suitable for the carriage of diesel; and submitted for reinspection if requested.
All tanks that went on sale from 2004 onwards should have been designed/made to be “type-approved.” For such later tanks/containers there is no change to the rules that apply to them.
Were there other exemptions?
Containers under 1000 litres benefit from the small load exemption.
As long as tractors pulling bowsers at speeds under 40kmh are safe, ie roadworthy, then they are exempt from ADR rules (up to the maximum design capacity of the bowser). However, bowsers pulled by other vehicles, such as a 4×4 must abide by the new rules (they are not exempt).
What does the new legislation mean?
While bowsers classed as tanks can still be used to move fuel on private sites, businesses will no longer be allowed to transport it using public roads without meeting IBC standards. All fuel transportation must now meet IBC standards under ADR and be designed in line with current EU Environmental Regulations to reduce the risk of accidental spillage and environmental contamination.
What does it mean to me as a contractor?
If you transport fuels in a bowser that’s classed as a tank rather than an intermediate bulk container (IBC), or it was manufactured before 10th May 2004, you will no longer be permitted to transport them on public roads without meeting the IBC standards.
Is my fuel tank an IBC?
If your fuel tank is relatively old or you’re unsure whether it’s an IBC, now is the time to check that it’s compliant or to replace it. There are several ways how you can find out:
• If your bowser was manufactured and sold after 2004 onwards should be type-approved to meet IBC standards and ADR regulations.
• Look at your bowser – If your tank doesn’t have approval or manufacturer plates, it’s unlikely to be an IBC. Bowsers classed as IBC will also have the UN packaging symbol and codes designating the type of IBC.
• IBCs must be able to hold 110% of its contents, so if your bowser is single-skinned, it will no longer be permitted to transport fuels on public roads.
What do Contractors have to do?
Contractors who transport diesel in a bowser will now need to check they will be road legal to meet the latest safety standards.
This will mean any bowser classed as a tank, rather than an intermediate bulk container (IBC), will no longer be permitted to transport fuel on public roads unless they have been inspected to make sure they have the appropriate type or UN approval as an IBC. The inspection must be made by a company/qualified person and this needs to be done every 6 years and an intermediate inspection at 3 years, this will also apply to bowsers built after 10th May 2004 with UN approval numbers.