HGV Safety Permits and The Future

HGV Safety Permits and The Future

19 February 2019

The world of waste management will be changing in London in the next few years. After almost two years of consultations and developments, the Transport for London has announced concrete plans to implement a requirement of safety permits for all HGVs over 12 tonnes entering London.

The Direct Vision Standard (DVS) was designed to improve the safety of vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists that would otherwise be unseen by HGV when in transport or collecting waste.

The standard utilises a 5 star system rating all HGVs with 0 being the lowest and 5 the highest. A rating is given based on how much a driver can see directly through their cab windows. Now, however, all HGVs entering or operating in Greater London will require safety permits, with the scheme being in operation all year round. The permit scheme will go live in October 2019.

If an HGV meets the DVS requirement, safety permits will be granted automatically. If it doesn’t, then steps must be taken to meet the TfL’s Safe System.

These steps will include the installation of a camera system, a sensor system, and class V and VI mirrors to eliminate front and side blind spots. Left turn audible and prominent signage will also be required.

By 26 October 2020, all 0-star HGVs over 12 tonnes will be banned from operating within Greater London, unless they can prove they will be implementing the changes under the Safe Safety proposals.

Plans are already in place to implement a similar banning of vehicles rated below 3 stars by 2024; however, further consultation will take place if there are any technological advancements to assist safety measures.

HGVs that operate in London without permits will face penalty charges for both the operators (£550) and the drivers (£130).

Given London is a metropolis and a central hub for business across Europe, the TfL Is working alongside major European cities and the European Union to push for long-term improvements by mandating direct vision in EU vehicle safety regulations.

Depending on the success of the safety permits, other major cities in the UK could implement a similar scheme, changing the way the waste management industry would operate. The waste management industry will have to look at innovation and green technology to ensure profit margins do not drop due to increased costs.

Innovation Leads to an Electric Future

Green technology is currently available when it comes to the collection of waste; however, its use in the industry is minimal and only in the last 12 months has it been tested in real life conditions.

In 2018, a 26-tonne truck running on lithium-ion batteries and specifically designed for urban environments with short routes completed a 10-hour shift as part of an initiative to drive down air pollution in London’s Square Mile.[1]

Veolia, a global resource management company, also trialled innovative electric refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) charged by power derived from the waste they collected.

The project in Sheffield sees two 26 tonne RCVs converted from diesel to electric power in a scheme designed to accelerate the transition to zero-emission HGVs. Converting the RCV, which need replacing, is also an effective way of extending the life of an existing vehicle by changing the diesel engine for electric power.[2]

The two re-powered RCV’s will be trialled over the next two years and the lorries will be powerful enough to negotiate 25 percent gradients on hills even when fully loaded.

The project which began at the start of 2019 will also convert an additional two RCVs that will be used in London.

Veolia also purchased five new electric street cleansers instead of diesel alternatives, which the company reports will save 78 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the environment every year.[3]

A trial of these vehicles in the London Borough of Lambeth showed that electric street cleansers maintained the same work performance as diesel, while eliminating carbon emissions to zero and reducing water use by 70%.

Acting Now for 2040

The UK has pledged to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040, which has resulted in corporations and councils examining the prospect of using electric vehicles for waste activities.

The advancement in technology taken in the latter part of this decade have resulted in electric cars being more of an appealing proposition for businesses. Charge times are decreasing, driving ranges are increasing, and costs are falling as technology gets cheaper.

The biggest problem for most companies is when to jump on the bandwagon. There seems to be no end in sight for the pace at which technology is advancing, so it still may be a few years before we see a real push towards electric RCVs.

Eco-Friendly Products

The move towards electric RCVs would mainly impact the domestic market and the commercial waste industry could also follow suit.

The industry is already moving towards environmentally friendly products which could produce less waste, with the potential of a move towards recycling and reusing products across several projects due to contractual demands.

PAL Hire has already been proactive by providing a number of green energy products to our client base, such as generators, lighting towers, and eco-friendly welfare units. To continue this move, we’ll also be releasing a dedicated eco-friendly product section in the coming months. Watch this space!


[1] https://waste-management-world.com/a/city-of-london-trials-uks-first-all-electric-refuse-collection-vehicle
[2] https://www.veolia.co.uk/press-releases/veolia-trial-electric-refuse-collection-vehicles
[3] https://resource.co/article/all-electric-waste-collection-vehicle-tours-uk-12771