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Transporting dangerous goods

How to transport dangerous goods, including guidance notes, authorisation notices, exception notices and multilateral agreements.

Dangerous goods are assigned different classes ranging from 1 to 9.

These classes cover goods from the highly dangerous, such as explosives, flammables and fuming acids, to everyday products such as paints, solvents and pesticides.

You can receive updates relating to the carriage of dangerous goods from the Department for Transport (DfT) by joining our mailing list.

Transporting dangerous goods securely

Recommendations on the secure carriage of dangerous goods are contained in chapter 1.10 of both the European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) and the Regulations concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Rail (RID).

The security provisions of ADR and RID apply in the UK through Regulation 5 of the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations (CDG) 2009. Regulations 7 and 8 contain additional security provisions that apply in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). DfT has published detailed guidance on the security requirements for the carriage of goods by road and rail.

DfT is responsible for the enforcement of the secure carriage of dangerous goods requirements (excluding class 7 radioactive materials).

DfT has an expert stakeholder group called the Industry Advisory Group to develop and monitor the implementation of these security requirements and any supporting guidance.

Dangerous goods security enquiries

Contact DfT if you have a question about government policy and regulations for the secure carriage of dangerous goods. You can:

Transporting dangerous goods safely

When transported, dangerous goods need to be packaged correctly to comply with international and national regulations for each transport mode, to ensure they are carried safely.

The Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) Dangerous Goods Office is responsible for the certification of dangerous goods packaging within the UK.

ADR/RID packaging and technical enquiries

Contact the VCA Dangerous Goods Office if you have a packaging or technical question about how requirements contained in ADR or RID may affect you. You can:

Safe carriage of dangerous goods enquiries

Contact DfT if you have a question about government policy and regulations for the safe carriage of dangerous goods. You can:

Enforcement of the safe carriage of dangerous goods

The enforcement for the safe carriage of dangerous goods is undertaken by several authorities (excluding Class 7 radioactive materials). The authority responsible for enforcing the regulations depends on the mode of transport:

Guidance notes

Dangerous goods are assigned classes ranging from 1 to 9.

Guidance on the carriage of radioactive material (class 7) is published by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

The Department for Transport provides guidance on all other classes, which supports the regulations for the carriage of dangerous goods.

Further guidance on the carriage of dangerous goods is available from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

A simple overview of how to ship, package and label dangerous goods is available on GOV.UK.

  1. Security requirements for moving dangerous goods by road and rail

    • Guidance
  2. Driving dangerous goods and special loads

    • Guidance
  3. Moving dangerous goods

    • Guidance
  4. Exemptions to requirements on transporting dangerous goods

    • Policy paper
  5. ADR tunnel codes and written instructions for transporting dangerous goods

    • Guidance
  6. Transporting category A pathogens

    • Form
  7. Transporting diesel, petrol or kerosene by road

    • Guidance
  8. Packaging for transporting dangerous goods

    • Guidance
  9. Closed vehicle definitions

    • Guidance
  10. Carriage of dangerous goods: the application of multilateral agreements

    • Guidance
  11. Different addresses on ADR training certificates and driving licences

    • Guidance
  12. Transporting infectious substances

    • Guidance
  13. Classing biofuels as dangerous goods

    • Guidance
  14. Transporting oxygen cylinders

    • Guidance
  15. Employing a dangerous goods safety advisor

    • Guidance
  16. Transporting gunpowder and smokeless powders

    • Guidance
  17. Retail distribution of small quantities of dangerous goods

    • Guidance
  18. Classifying bird flu specimens for transportation

    • Guidance
  19. Preventing leaks when transporting dangerous goods

    • Guidance
  20. Testing and inspecting intermediate bulk containers

    • Guidance
  21. The testing, certification and marking of dangerous goods packaging

    • Guidance
  22. Approval scheme for bulk containers

    • Guidance
  23. Explanation of transport related unloading

    • Guidance
  24. Transporting electrical and electronic waste

    • Guidance

Authorisation notices

The Secretary of State for Transport for transport, can issue written authorisations that allow for deviations from ADR requirements and RID requirements. These authorisations carry conditions and time limits, and apply to carriage within Great Britain only.

The authorisations can be withdrawn by the competent authority at any time by means of a written notice.

Authorisation notices about transporting radioactive materials

Authorisations concerning the transport of radioactive materials are published by the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

Exception notices

Under the carriage regulations, the Department for Transport can issue exception notices, which make various provisions to the dangerous goods regulations.

Multilateral agreements (MA)

ADR and RID allow contracting parties to agree temporary exemptions between themselves.

If carrying dangerous goods in accordance with an MA, a copy of it must be carried on the vehicle.

Report an accident involving the carriage of dangerous goods

You can use our form to report an accident or incident involving the carriage of dangerous goods.

Published 11 May 2013
Last updated 7 July 2017 + show all updates
  1. Carriage of dangerous goods guidance note 16.
  2. Carriage of dangerous goods exception notice 34.
  3. Updated links to latest ADR and RID regulations.
  4. Carriage of dangerous goods exception notices 30 and 31 revised.
  5. Carriage of dangerous goods authorisation 476.
  6. Carriage of dangerous goods exception notice 33.
  7. Carriage of dangerous goods exception notice 32 added.
  8. Carriage of dangerous goods multilateral agreement ADR M299 added to page.
  9. Multilateral agreement ADR M291.
  10. Carriage of dangerous goods multilateral agreement ADR M296 added.
  11. List of authorisations to carry dangerous goods updated.
  12. First published.