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NCEC, the UK’s national response unit for chemical emergencies, has warned hauliers that they may face tough penalties since Vosa’s introduction of the Graduated Fixed Penalties and Deposits Scheme.

The scheme extends the previous fixed penalty scheme used by police forces in England, Wales and Scotland.

Drivers can be issued fixed penalties by a Vosa enforcement officer for violations found at the time of inspection, graduated according to the severity of the offence.

Vosa uses ‘offence bands’ ranging from a verbal warning (band 0) up to court prosecution (band 5).

A driver’s licence may be endorsed for some offences, and prohibition notices may be issued to prevent an unsafe vehicle continuing on its journey.

For the transport of dangerous goods in bulk, prohibition notices will be issued for the absence of an emergency contact number or lack of adequate response, as well as violations such as lack of placards or insufficient driver training.

Dan Haggarty, emergency response services manager for NCEC, said: ‘With the advent of these new enforcement rules it will be more important than ever to ensure that the contact number displayed on the vehicle links to a proper response centre, staffed by specialists, like the one offered by Carechem 24 or Haulsafe, and not just an automated answering service on a mobile phone.

‘Vosa officials may be keen to demonstrate their effectiveness by a forceful application of their new powers.’ He added: ‘hauliers will open themselves to costly litigations if they ignore the basic principles behind ADR.’

National Chemical Emergency Centre

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