Tanker drivers set for specialist training boost

The fuel distribution sector is poised to finalise an industry-wide agreement for an enhanced training and assessment standard for tanker drivers.

The package of measures, due to be finalised at a meeting of the UK Downstream Oil Distribution Forum (DODF), will pave the way for tanker drivers to have their skills assessed as part of a written and practical test.

Details of how the new voluntary DODF training standard will fit alongside the existing statutory ADR requirements are still to be decided, although it is possible that a number of extra 45-minute teaching units will be added to the ADR tanker
specialist course.

Each fuel and industry sub-sector – home heat, commercial,  aviation, retail and marine – would have its own teaching unit that tanker drivers would need to undertake if working in that setting. The new standard, once achieved, would last for five years, mirroring the ADR licence, but would be subject to an annual refresher day.

Colin Rutherford, general manager at Turners (Soham), which is a member of the DODF, said: “The DODF training standard will build on the good practice that already exists in many parts of the industry. The combination of an industry-wide standard with written and practical assessment will guarantee that all drivers in the industry have been trained to a consistently high standard.

“We envisage the proposed annual refresher day will also count as Driver CPC training, and we are working to ensure that is the case,” he added.

Made up of representatives from trade bodies, unions, government departments, training organisations and tanker hauliers, the DODF was set up in July 2012 to look at developing a sector-wide approach to health and safety in the aftermath of last year’s threat of a national tanker driver strike.

Authorities step up fight against hauliers using dodgy diesel

HMRC, Vosa and the traffic commissioners (TCs) are stepping up their fight against fuel laundering and hauliers who use rebated diesel.

The parties have agreed a new protocol that should result in an increase in the number of such cases being referred by HMRC officers to the TCs, as well as the transport regulation unit in Northern Ireland.

Last year HMRC discovered 25 fuel laundering sites in the UK - 22 of them in Northern Ireland.

Geoff Dunning, Road Haulage Association chief executive, said the new protocol represents a "radical and much-needed improvement" in the co-ordination of the enforcement and regulatory effort.

He added: "It should mean a transformation in reporting - and it is vital that is what happens in practice.

"I am much encouraged by HMRC’s assurance that it shares the RHA’s determination to eliminate non-compliance in respect of fuel duty and the damaging impact that has on legitimate hauliers."

Ensuring free and fair competition

In a statement, HMRC said the involvement in excise fraud by hauliers is a matter the organisation takes very seriously.

"Evasion of excise duty by a minority of hauliers distorts free and fair competition within the market, placing the large majority of legitimate hauliers at a disadvantage and HMRC is committed to helping to create a level playing field," it added.

  • More than 14 tonnes of toxic waste have been removed from an industrial unit in Co Armagh after HMRC discovered a green diesel laundering plant. Officers from HMRC and the police service of Northern Ireland searched the units in the Jonesborough area and discovered a 40ft underground tanker, large quantities of illicit fuel, a quantity of bleaching earth - used to launder the diesel. The plant, estimated to be capable of producing 25 million litres of illicit fuel a year evading over £18 million in taxes and duty, was dismantled.