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New Regulation for Diesel Bowsers – What Does This Mean?

Thursday 9th May 2019 saw a new UK law come into effect that ended a 15-year exemption for diesel bowsers that don’t adhere to ADR road carriage requirements. But what exactly does this new regulation mean? Why is it needed and how can businesses stay compliant? We discuss below.

What are the rules for bowsers?

If you transport fuels in a bowser that’s classed as a tank rather than an intermediate bulk container (IBC), or it was manufactured before 10th May 2004, you are no longer be permitted to transport them on public roads.

Crown Oil Intermediate Bulk Containers
Agricultural Fuels for Farm Vehicles

Why are the new regulations being introduced?

In 2004, red diesel (gas oil) and diesel (derv) were both reclassified as flammable and combustible liquids. As a result, new road carriage requirements regulated by the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) had to make sure these fuels are transported safely on public roads, to eliminate the risk of spillage.

The 15-year exemption period was introduced by the Department of Transport to give industries ample time to adapt to the new means of transport. These standards were only temporary, but in the interim, allowed the use of certain bowsers as intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), as long as they:

  • Have a maximum capacity of 3,000 litres or less
  • Are designed for mechanical handling
  • Are resistant to the stresses produced in handling and carriage
  • Are not be permanently fixed to a motor vehicle or trailer (may be temporarily fitted for safety during transport)
  • Are safe and suitable for the carriage of diesel
  • Are submitted for periodic re-inspection if requested

What does the new legislation mean?

While bowsers classed as tanks can still be used to move fuel on private sites, businesses are no longer allowed to transport it using public roads without meeting IBC standards.

All fuel transportation must now meet IBC standards under ADR and be designed in line with current EU Environmental Regulations to reduce the risk of accidental spillage and environmental contamination.

Is my fuel tank an IBC?

If your fuel tank is relatively old or you’re unsure whether it’s an IBC, you should check that it’s compliant or replace it. There are several ways you can find out:

If your bowser was manufactured from 2004 onwards

All bowsers manufactured and sold after 2004 will be type-approved to meet IBC standards and ADR regulations.

If your bowser is 110% bunded

IBCs must be able to hold 110% of its contents, so if your bowser is single-skinned, it won’t be permitted to transport fuels on public roads.

Find your purchase documentation or certification

The documentation or certification that you received upon purchase should state whether your bowser is classed as a tank or an IBC.

Look at your bowser

If your tank doesn’t have approval or manufacturer plates, it’s unlikely to be an IBC. Bowsers classed as IBC will also have the UN packaging symbol and codes designating the type of IBC. For more information on UN markings – visit here.

Locate pressure testing records

IBCs require pressure testing and external inspections every two years and an internal inspection every five years to ensure they’re road-safe. These tests must be recorded and kept safe in the event of an inspection request from the Department of Transport. If you don’t have a record of these tests, it’s unlikely to be compliant with ADR regulations.

What do the new diesel bowser rules mean for farmers?

Tractors that pull bowsers at speeds under 40kmh are exempt from ADR rules up to the maximum design capacity of the bowser, as long as it’s safe and roadworthy. However, bowsers pulled by other vehicles, such as a 4×4, must adhere to the new rules.

We have a wide range of fuel tanks available to ensure safe storage and transportation of diesel and petrol. Alternatively, if you’re still unsure on whether your tank is an IBC or not, give us a call on 0330 123 1444 and we’ll be able to help.

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