Transport for London’s Safer Lorry Scheme: What is it?

Road Haulage Ellesmere Port

Road haulage in North West England, North Wales and other parts of the UK is continuously improving with funding support from the government, which we addressed in a recent post – Investment in the Haulage Sector for 2015-2020 – but there is also a new scheme being introduced, which goes live on 1st September 2015.

This is the Transport for London’s Safer Lorry Scheme, which will require almost all HGVs operating in the city of London to be fitted with additional mirrors and sideguards. This is being advised by the Freight Transport Association, but they have said that these new regulations are very precise and will require expert help to get it right.

The Head of Engineering for FTA, Andy Mair mentioned, “Dimension and installation requirements are extremely complex and operators who have to retro-fit their trucks to comply with the scheme need to be confident that sideguards have been put on correctly.”

“As these vehicles are exempt from existing construction regulations, they will not be checked as part of the annual testing examination and operators may only realise that they have incorrectly installed sideguards following enforcement action and fines under the new Safer Lorry Scheme.”

This scheme will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will require all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes to be fitted with sideguards, kerb view and front mirrors. Operators who breach the rules in the enforcement area, which is the entire London Low Emission Zone, will face fixed penalties of £50 or court fines of £1,000. Therefore, it is advised to start preparing now.

It will be enforced by the police, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency and the joint DfT/TfL-funded Industrial HGV Taskforce. For anyone who does not comply will be referred for investigation by the relevant Traffic Commissioner.

There is an exempted vehicle list on TfL’s website, and it is advised for operators to check their vehicle types against this list to ensure they have checked whether they will need these additional fixtures and if they are installed correctly.

FTA’s UKAS-accredited Vehicle Inspection Service offers compliance checks on the correct installation of sideguards and mirrors to the new requirements. These are carried out by highly qualified and experienced vehicle inspection engineers.  These compliance checks can be carried out on site at operators’ premises by the FTA visiting inspection service, in order to make this new scheme more convenient.