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ADR Licensing – What And Why?

The life of an HGV driver is never dull. There are always new places to see and go, new companies to work for, and new loads to carry. We even know of some drivers who play games of ‘cargo bingo’ to see what the most exciting thing they’ve ever transported is. But within HGV driving there is an even more specialist subset – those who can carry dangerous goods on the road. These drivers have gone through even more training than normal HGV drivers, and now carry something called an ADR license, which we’re going to tell you about today.


What Is The ADR Licence?

ADR stands for the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (perhaps the longest abbreviation we’ve seen) and is all about the safe transport of dangerous or hazardous materials by road around the EU. Understandably the transportation of such goods, while necessary, is heavily regulated to keep all rod users safe, and any drivers looking to work in this field have to go through extra training. In the past, you only had to do this if you were driving a vehicle over 3.5 tonnes, but 2007 the law was changed, and now it doesn’t matter if you’re driving a tanker or a ford transit – if the cargo is dangerous, you need an ADR license.


The 9 Classes of Dangerous Goods

  • Explosive Materials (Class 1) – Including any substance with an explosion hazard, explosions that may project fragments and firebrands, and fire hazards.


  • Gasses (Class 2) – Including flammable gasses, toxic gasses, and gasses that are neither flammable nor toxic, like helium and
  • Flammable Liquids (Class 3) – Including liquids or mixtures of liquids that will give off flammable vapours at specific temperatures, and have a flashpoint of not more than 60.5 degreed Celsius.
  • Flammable Solids (Class 4) – Including highly flammable solids, solids that are likely to spontaneously combust, and substances that, if they come into contact with water, emit flammable gasses.


  • Oxidising Substances and Organic Pesticides (Class 5) – Including agents that react with oxygen and organic pesticides.


  • Toxic and Infectious Substances (Class 6) – Including cyanide, arsenic, vaccines and pathology specimens.


  • Radioactive Materials (Class 7) – Including materials that have a specific activity greater than 70 kilobecquerels per kilogram.


  • Corrosive Materials (Class 8) – Including any corrosive liquids and solids that will cause severe damage on contact with living tissue, or materially damage other goods on leakage.


  • Miscellaneous (Class 9) – Includes any miscellaneous dangerous items.



Why Choose An ADR License?

Honestly, a lot of drivers choose the ADR license for the same reason they choose other categories of license – it increases their earning potential. ADR license holders are a lot harder to come by and in very high demand, so by choosing to train for an ADR you are making yourself a much more valuable candidate to prospective employers, and increasing your earning potential. Training for an ADR license takes anywhere from a few days to a month or two, and the license itself lasts for 5 years, with refreshers needed to keep it renewed.


Because of the nature of the work, all ADR training in the UK has to be approved by the Department for Transport, which means it’s important you choose a reputable and licensed training programme. Your training will likely be split into modules, covering all of the categories above, as well as core, packages, and the safe driving of tankers, which may not be covered in your standard HGV training.


At The LGV Training Company, we cover all elements of HGV training in house and work with several partner training programmes to cover any specialist areas we don’t train in – including ADR licenses. So if you decide during your HGV training that you would like to pursue an ADR license, just let us know, and we can arrange for the appropriate training for you. To find out more, just get in touch with the team today.

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