An efficient freight transportation system helps support the UK economy. Getting goods from one place to another at a reasonable cost and with the minimum impact on the environment and communities is essential.

We’re working with the freight industry to help them cut costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Effective and proportionate regulation will also ensure goods are moved safely and securely across the UK and abroad.


Transporting dangerous goods

Most goods don’t pose a danger to anyone transporting them, or to the public or the environment. However, some goods can pose a risk and are classified by the UN as dangerous. When transporting dangerous goods, we need to minimise the risk of an incident. To do this, the government:

Freight grants

We’re encouraging companies to choose to transport freight by rail or water rather than road by awarding freight grants to reduce the cost of using rail or water transport.

Vehicle speeds, drivers’ hours and tachographs

We’re responsible for regulating freight transport and for the implementation of EU regulations and directives relating to drivers’ hours and tachographs.

In July 2014 we announced an increase in speed limits for HGVs over 7.5 tonnes on single carriageway roads in England and Wales. At the same time we launched a consultation examining the case for a speed limit increase for the same class of vehicle on dual carriageways in England and Wales.

Following the consultation, in November 2014, we announced an increase in speed limits for HGVs over 7.5 tonnes on dual carriageways roads. Both these increases came into force 6 April 2015.

Heavy goods vehicle road user levy

To make sure both foreign and UK hauliers make a contribution when using UK roads, the government has introduced a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) road user levy to charge all lorries weighing 12 tonnes or more to use the UK road network.

Trialling longer semi-trailers

In January 2012 we began trialling longer HGV semi-trailers to see if their use reduces greenhouse gas emissions and makes accidents less likely.

Use of temporary snow ploughs

We’ve published guidance for local authorities and companies on how to adapt vehicles for use as temporary snow ploughs.


We make our research available to the freight industry so that we can improve in areas such as load, consolidation and lorry size.

Low Emission HGV Task Force

The Low Emission, Fuel Efficient HGV Task Force was established under the 2011 Logistics growth review to identify and promote measures to reduce emissions from HGVs. In March 2014 the task force published recommendations on the use of methane and biomethane in HGVs.

Trialling low carbon trucks

We started the low carbon truck trial in 2012 following the Logistics growth review to encourage and help UK road haulage operators to buy and use low carbon heavy goods vehicles.


In May 2010, we said we needed a modern transport infrastructure to boost the economy, and improve well-being and the quality of life, as part of the coalition agreement.

We announced our plans to make HGV road-user charging a fairer system for UK hauliers as part of the coalition agreement. In January 2011 we started consulting with UK hauliers about the charging scheme.

Following the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001, the UK has worked with the UN to develop and implement enhanced security arrangements for the international and domestic transport of dangerous goods.

To shape this policy, we used economic and statistical analysis, appraisal, evaluation, modelling and research.

Bills and legislation

The safe and secure carriage of dangerous goods by road and rail in the UK is governed by:

National legislation needs to comply with international legislation:

This is subject to agreed exemptions from the requirements relating to the transport of dangerous goods by road and rail:

The transport of dangerous goods by air is governed by the Air Navigation (Dangerous Goods) Regulations 2002 - and complies with ICAO’s technical instructions.

The transport of dangerous goods by sea is governed by the Merchant Shipping (Dangerous Goods and Marine Pollutant) Regulations 1997 and the Merchant Shipping (Vessel Traffic Monitoring and Reporting Requirements) Regulations 2004, both applying the latest revisions to the IMDG Code.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation is responsible for policy and for enforcing the security of carriage of radioactive material (class 7). This includes civil nuclear material as defined by the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 (NISR).