With Christmas just around the corner and logistics companies facing their busiest and most profitable time of the year, organisations may want to review their 'Dangerous Goods Policy' to ensure that they are making the most of their road delivery operations from retailers and distribution centres to end users. This applies to items classified as dangerous goods under the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road or otherwise known as 'ADR', such as nail varnish, perfumes, aerosols, alcohol and batteries.

The law…

The carriage of dangerous goods by road in Great Britain is governed by The Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009 ( CDG). The law states that 'no person is to carry dangerous goods or cause or permit dangerous goods to be carried where that carriage is prohibited by ADR…, including where that carriage does not comply with any applicable requirement of ADR… '. The ADR effectively mandating the means by which these dangerous goods, including the Christmas stocking fillers listed above, are to be handled, packaged, labelled and transported.

Many businesses take a strict view on the carriage of dangerous goods and rightly so. However, it is important to recognise that there are exemptions to the requirements and prohibitions arising under the Regulation with the most recent edition of the exemptions published in April 2012 by The Department for Transport  - "Dangerous Goods: Approved Derogations and Transitional  Periods1".

Road Derogation 4, Retail Distribution by Road is of particular note as it permits the alternative carriage of certain classes of dangerous goods under limited quantity provisions or combination packaging without their original outer packaging and without having to meet the marking requirements that would normally be required under ADR for single packages. This in effect means that in certain circumstances, businesses may carry limited quantities of dangerous goods without the strict package labelling and marking requirements of the ADR for the final stages of carriage in retail distribution.

Important limitations include:

  • Carriage of goods must be by road only;
  • Within Great Britain, thereby excluding carriage to the Isle of Man, Channel Islands and Northern Ireland;
  • For the final stages of the carriage operation between a distribution centre and a retailer or end user, or a retailer and end user or between an end user and retailer or distribution centre.

In summary, careful utilisation of the Road Derogation can change the landscape in which logistic companies currently operate and open up the possibility of new commercial contracts on dangerous goods.