London’s Direct Vision Standard scheme goes live

London’s Direct Vision Standard scheme goes live

Applications for London's Direct Vision Standard (DVS) permits have now opened.

The Direct Vision Standard (DVS) and safety permit for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) requires all lorries over 12 tonnes gross vehicle weight to be granted a permit to enter or operate in Greater London.

Transport operators are being urged to apply sooner rather than later to ensure they can continue operating their vehicles in London after the first phase of the scheme launches in October 2020.

The DVS scheme is based on how much a driver can see directly through their cab windows. A star system rates HGVs over 12 tonnes from zero (lowest) to five (highest). The DVS scheme will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will be enforced within the Greater London boundary. 

Permits will be electronic and enforced by Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras, and non-compliant HGVs will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice of £550 per day, which will be reduced by 50 per cent if paid within 14 days.

Owners of vehicles rated zero-star will need to improve the overall safety of their vehicle by fitting a 'Safe System' to reduce the risk it presents to people walking, cycling and riding motorcycles. These include a camera monitoring system, a noise alert when turning left and sensors. However, fitting the 'Safe System' will not improve a vehicle's DVS star rating but will bring the safety standard of the vehicle up to allow operators to apply for a Safety Permit.

At the same time as the Direct Vision Standard is brought into force on October 26 2020, requirements for the London-wide Low Emission Zone will be tightened so that heavy vehicles across the capital are subject to the tougher ULEZ standards. 

The DVS scheme’s operators, Transport for London said these changes show the vital role the freight industry will play in both tackling road danger and cleaning up the capital's toxic air. TfL research suggests that between 2015 and 2017, HGVs were disproportionately involved in fatal collisions, with 63 per cent of those involving people cycling and 25 per cent of those involving people walking.

Christina Calderato, Head of Transport Strategy and Planning at TfL, said: “Transforming the safety of HGVs will dramatically reduce road danger for people walking and cycling, helping us to ensure that everyone gets home safely every day. We would like to encourage all operators to check the star rating of their vehicles and take action today, by applying for a permit or fitting a Safe System.”

The Freight Transport Association, which represents the interests of the logistics sector, supports the Mayor of London’s ambition but still argues DVS is not the most effective route to reducing vehicular harm.

Christopher Snelling, Head of UK Policy at FTA, comments: “As the organisation speaking on behalf of the logistics sector, FTA fully supports the Mayor of London’s ‘Vision Zero’ approach to improving road safety, but we do not believe DVS is the most effective approach – it is a limited and expensive intervention. Instead, Sadiq Khan should have focused on the development of technological safety solutions, such as advanced cameras, sensors, and automatic emergency braking which would work to eliminate the element of human error.

“FTA has, however, been working closely with Transport for London during the scheme’s development and is pleased to see that many of our suggestions have been taken on board. For example, those operating larger fleets will no longer be required to provide as much detail as first thought; logistics is already one of the most heavily legislated sectors of industry and more administrative burden would have been untenable.”

Mr Snelling continued: “Whatever we think of the scheme, FTA is advising businesses which work in the capital to apply for HGV Safety permits now to ensure they can continue operating their vehicles in London after the first phase of DVS launches in October 2020. All goods vehicles over 12 tonnes will need to have a permit to access the capital’s roads. Any vehicle which does not meet the scheme’s minimum one-star rating will need to fit the requirements of the new Safe System to obtain a permit - do not leave it until the last minute to apply.”

Vehicles rated between one star and five star will be compliant until 2024, when vehicles two star and below will require a 'Progressive Safe System' in order to operate in London, subject to consultation.

TfL said it is possible to apply for multiple vehicle permits in a single application, making it easier for operators with larger fleets. Operators can check the star rating of their vehicles and apply for a permit here.

Operators should contact their vehicle manufacturer to confirm their star rating if their vehicle is not yet rated in the database. Vehicles without permits once enforcement begins will be assumed to have a zero star rating.