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ONR joins days of roadside action to inspect transport of radioactive material

The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) has been working with police and other agencies to ensure compliance with the regulations covering the transportation of radioactive materials on the country’s roads.

ONR recently took part in two pre-planned operations in Northamptonshire and Staffordshire, carrying out unannounced roadside stops of vehicles carrying Class 7 dangerous goods (radioactive material).

These separate days of action were focused on improving safety on major road networks within the two counties.

ONR’s Transport Competent Authority (TCA) team of qualified inspectors oversees the transport of radioactive material by road, rail and inland waterways within Great Britain.

For the operation in July, ONR worked with different divisions of Northamptonshire Police, the Police’s National Defence Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear Centre (DCBRNC) and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) which ensures the safe and legal operation of vehicles and drivers on the road.

ONR stops were performed near Towcester in Northamptonshire, and overall, by all the agencies involved, more than 40 goods vehicles were stopped at two check sites situated on the northbound and southbound carriageways of the A43.

The previous month, in June, ONR carried out similar unannounced stops at junction 15 of the M6 in Staffordshire, working with the DVSA.

The ONR stops were to ensure compliance with the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009 (CDG09), and were additional enforcement activities alongside ONR’s programme of planned transport compliance inspections at dutyholders’ premises.

The stops covered various aspects of CDG09 compliance, including the integrity of Class 7 packages, appropriate vehicle markings, proper training and certification of drivers, and the presence of documentation and equipment to assist in emergency situations.

Further stops are planned for later this year.

Richard Stoddart
Nicola Jaynes

Nicola Jaynes, a Transport Competent Authority inspector for ONR, took part in the stops in Northamptonshire, and said: “We are used to seeing vehicles during inspections at transport dutyholders’ premises, where the drivers we meet understand who we are and why we are asking questions of them.

“Roadside stops make for a very different working environment and regulator and dutyholder dynamic, but ultimately they gave us a valuable new perspective.”

Richard Stoddart, another ONR Transport Competent Authority inspector who was present during the Staffordshire operation, added: ‘‘It was beneficial to carry out these unannounced inspections. We saw vehicles as they were being used, rather than vehicles that had been prepared for a compliance inspection.

“Working with the DVSA and the police also meant that vehicles were subject to a road worthiness inspection, something that is outside ONR’s remit.”

The DVSA inspections cover the construction and use of vehicles, including safe loading procedures, drivers’ hours and records, driver and vehicle licensing, and training documentation, along with compliance with the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR 2017).

Trevor Watts, of the DVSA, said: “This multi-agency approach enabled us to conduct inspections to check that compliance was met for a broader range of matters than any one agency could do independently.

“This approach is an efficient way of inspecting vehicles where there is an overlap of remit with the joint overall aim of improving road safety standards for all."