The DfT has published the weight limits of volumetric concrete mixers, after it announced its plans to incorporate the vehicles into the same O-licence and drivers' hours regulation as other HGVs last September.
Existing vehicles have been given 10 years to comply with the new weight limits. This will be regulated through a new scheme which will see operators having to apply (one application per operator fleet) to the Vehicle Certification Agency for a Vehicle Special Order (VSO) that grants exemption from specified legal requirements for individual vehicles.
VSOs will be valid until 31 March 2028, or the 12th anniversary of the vehicle’s first registration, whichever is the earlier. Operators have until the end of 2018 to submit applications for newly registered vehicles. After that, new vehicles must comply fully with the relevant Road Vehicles (Authorised Weight) Regulations 1998 (AWR).
The VSO available to volumetric mixers will provide derogations from AWR according to number of axles.
The derogated weight limits are:
- Two-axle rigid – 21.6 tonnes
- Three-axle rigid – 31 tonnes
- Four-axle rigid – 38.4 tonnes
- Five (or more)-axle rigid – 44 tonnes
Axle weights may not exceed AWR limits by more than 20%, and the gross weight may not exceed 6-tonnes per metre of the overall wheelbase. The five-axle limit will provide operators with the opportunity to recover some payload capacity by converting an existing four-axle vehicle.
The Mineral Products Association’s executive director Jerry McLaughlin said: “It is very positive that after many years of lax regulation of volumetric concrete mixers, Transport Minister Jesse Norman MP and officials are now taking action which will bring the regulation of volumetric concrete mixers in line with other HGVs.
"We would have preferred a shorter transition period for vehicle weights but the policy direction is now clear and significant regulatory convergence will start in September this year. The Minister’s decisions are a victory for road safety and common sense."
The Batched on Site Association response was less welcoming, and said it was surprised by the decision. The association's response said it “will be subjecting the detail of the announcement to close scrutiny and careful consideration".