Guide

How to move goods by road

Transporting dangerous goods by road

This page explains the procedures you must comply with for carrying dangerous goods by road.

You may see two different terms used to refer to these rules - ADR and the Carriage Regulations - but both refer to the same provisions. ADR is a Europe-wide code on dangerous goods, while the Carriage Regulations translate that code into UK legislation. The Carriage Regulations also apply to the transport of goods by rail.

The regulations apply to carriers and traders. Traders are often asked to produce the dangerous goods declaration and supporting documents (such as vehicle documentation, safety and accident reporting) and to ensure the goods are suitably packaged and labelled. Traders must also comply with two key sets of duties - classification and packaging.

Classification

Any dangerous goods you're transporting must be marked with their name, description and United Nations (UN) number.

UN classification groups for dangerous goods

UN Class Dangerous Goods Classification
1 Explosives Explosive
2 Gases
Flammable gas
Non-flammable, non-toxic gas
Toxic gas
3 Flammable liquid Flammable liquid
4 Flammable solids
Flammable solid
Spontaneously combustible substance
Substance which emits flammable gas in contact with water
5 Oxidising substances
Oxidising substance
Organic peroxide
6 Toxic substances
Toxic substance
Infectious substance
7 Radioactive material Radioactive material
8 Corrosive substances Corrosive substance
9 Miscellaneous dangerous goods Miscellaneous dangerous goods

Certain goods are prohibited from transport by road, eg, UN Class 3 goods likely to produce peroxides.

Packaging

You must ensure that a qualified Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser has checked that your goods are handled and packaged correctly. Drivers of dangerous loads will need to hold an ADR training certificate, unless they are transporting small loads.

The goods must be well packed to withstand the disruption and movement you'd expect during transit. You must also check that your export packaging is clearly marked with the UN classification number from the table above and with the safety labels appropriate to that class of goods. You're responsible for checking that your carrier's vehicles clearly show they'll be carrying dangerous goods.

A shipper is legally obliged to make a declaration of the danger or hazard of the goods being transported. For the movement of dangerous goods by sea, inland waterways, road and rail, the shipper can fulfil this requirement by completing a Dangerous Goods Note (DGN) - for air, the correct documentation is the International Air Transport Association Shipper's Declaration of Dangerous Goods. However, the shipper can design, prepare and present a bespoke or 'in-house' document for the surface modes (roads or rail) provided it contains the mandatory information. Some chemical and automotive companies have done this to accommodate specific business processes, such as the need for landscape (instead of a portrait) documentation. Details should also be included on the CMR note.

Security

Security regulations require any business involved in the transport of dangerous goods to:

  • only offer the goods to appropriate carriers
  • make sites that temporarily store dangerous goods secure
  • have a security awareness training programme in place
  • have a security plan in place, if involved with high-consequence dangerous goods

You also have to send a DGN with your consignment - see a sample DGN note.

While it is unlikely, you should be aware that customs rules rules allow controlled goods to pass through the UK without needing a specific UK licence, but also enable customs authorities to intervene or stop a shipment if they are concerned.

The consignor of the goods is also responsible for checking that the vehicle driver must also hold an international Transport Emergency Card, known as a 'Tremcard' - see driving dangerous goods and special loads abroad.