A consultation has been launched into the proposed Direct Vision Standard (DVS) for HGV operators travelling into and out of London.

The proposed scheme would require all HGVs over 12 tonnes to hold a Safety Permit to enter or operate in Greater London. As part of DVS, HGVs would be rated between “zero-star” (lowest) and “five-star” (highest). From October 2020, zero star HGVs would be banned unless they can demonstrate they operate in compliance with other measures in a defined safe system to minimise their risk to vulnerable road users.

By 2024, zero-, one- and two-star HGVs would be banned unless they can demonstrate compliance with an updated progressive safe system. The scheme is scheduled to launch in October 2019 when operators will be able to apply for Safety Permits.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has welcomed the consultation but says that individual cities should not be setting vehicle design standards.

“The future of road safety will be delivered through technological development and new vehicle design standards which FTA believes will be best set at an international level,” said the FTA’s Head of Urban Policy, Natalie Chapman. “It is misleading to expect all vehicle designs to be modified for the UK market – new cab design takes years and millions of pounds of investment to be brought to market, and manufacturers are unlikely to develop new vehicles for use in a single city, even one as busy as London. FTA has always believed that technological innovation is the only way to deliver the Mayor’s vision for an end to deaths and serious injuries on the capital’s roads by 2041.”

The consultation on the proposed London DVS opened on 8 January 2019 and will run for six weeks. Chapman says it is encouraging to note that many of FTA member’s suggestions have already been taken on board as plans for the London DVS have progressed and that those operating larger fleets will not be required to provide as much detail as first thought. “Logistics is already one of the most heavily legislated sectors of industry, and additional bureaucratic burdens at a time when the industry is under great economic and trading pressures would have been untenable,” she said.

“Safety is a multi-faceted challenge for all road users, not just HGV operators,” added Chapman. “and to focus attention solely on the view from the cab ignores the other challenges and potential dangers on the capital’s roads. As an organisation, we have always been clear that the use of new technology alongside changes to new vehicle designs would be far more effective in reducing road deaths and injuries than direct vision alone – and with the time and cost involved in bringing new vehicles to the capital’s streets, any scheme which fails to use new technology will place an unfair financial burden on those charged with delivering what London needs, on time and on budget, every single day.”

View the consultation