Temporary Relaxation of the Enforcement and Working Time Rules: Delivery of LPG

In response to requests from Industry, the Department for Transport has, pursuant to Article 14(2) of Regulation (EC) No 561/2006, agreed to a temporary and limited urgent relaxation of the enforcement of EU drivers’ hours and working-time rules for the drivers of vehicles transporting liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) undertaking ‘trunk’ deliveries in England, Scotland and Wales, due to the shortage of LPG at strategically important refineries in England and Wales.

The relaxation applies solely to drivers undertaking ‘trunk’ deliveries of LPG (for example from refineries and import terminals to distribution depots) in England, Scotland and Wales. Therefore, for the avoidance of doubt, it does not apply to drivers undertaking deliveries to end consumers (such as households or businesses).

This temporary relaxation applies from 00:01 on Sunday 8 March 2020 and will run until 23:59 on Sunday 29 March 2020 and will apply only to those drivers involved in the delivery of LPG within England, Scotland and Wales. The Department reserves the right to withdraw the relaxation earlier if circumstances change.

The Department wishes to make clear that driver safety must not be compromised. Drivers should not be expected to drive whilst tired – employers remain responsible for the health and safety of their employees and other road users. 

For the drivers and work in question, the EU drivers’ hours rules will be temporarily relaxed as follows:-

  • Replacement of the EU daily driving limit of 9 hours with one of 11 hours;
  • Reduction of the daily rest requirements from 11 to 9 hours;
  • Lifting the weekly (56 hours) and fortnightly driving limits (90 hours);

However, the requirement to take a 45 minute break after 4½ hours driving remains in place and will continue to be rigorously enforced.

The enforcement of the mobile working time rules has also been relaxed for this period to allow drivers to work up to 72 hours instead of the usual 60 hour weekly maximum.  This extra time should be recorded, but does not count for the purposes of determining average working time.

The practical implementation of the temporary relaxation should be through agreement between employers and employees and/or driver representatives.

The drivers in question must note on the back of their tachograph charts or printouts the reasons why they are exceeding the normally permitted limits.  This is usual practice in emergencies and is, of course, essential for enforcement purposes.

The temporary relaxation of the rules described above reflects the exceptional circumstances of the increased demand for LPG due to continued supply issues at two main refineries. The Department wishes to emphasise that, as a general rule, we expect business to plan for and manage the risks of disruption to supply chains.

All enquiries regarding interpretation of these temporary arrangements should, in the first instance, be made to the Freight Operator Licensing & Roadworthiness Division at the Department for Transport via the switchboard on 0207 944 3000 (during office hours) or to the DfT Duty Office on 0207 944 5999 (out of office hours).

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