If you are driving a vehicle carrying dangerous goods then you must, by law, hold an ADR licence which is the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road.
Prior to January 2007 this only applied to vehicles over 3.5 tonnes but now you must have the ADR licence if you’re in an HGV or in a Ford Transit and examples could include:
Having an ADR Licence is a great qualification to have and there is a high demand for ADR trained drivers which can lead to better job opportunities and also better wages. Full ADR training and licensing will cost between £300-£500 depending on the modules taken so can be considered a great investment and if it gets you a better job then it will pay for itself.
In the UK all training courses must be approved by the Department for Transport so please check that your chosen training provider has this before booking your course. The ADR training is typically broken up into modules and your choices will depend on the type of job you do or want to do and what hazardous materials you will be transporting.
As a side note, Class 1 – Explosives and Class 7 – Radioactives are generally run as separate modules and not included in the typical ADR training.
At the end of your training you will have to successfully complete an examination set and marked by the Scottish Qualifications Authority covering the modules and classes you require. The exams are in multiple choice format and you will need to get a pass of 70%. If you do fail a module then you will only be required to resit that particular one and not repeat all of them.
Full initial courses for only the ‘packages’ course take around 3.5 days and if you incorporate the ‘tanks’ module then you are looking at a total of 5 days. Refresher courses all run over three days. Class -1 Explosives and Class -7 Radioactives courses take 1 day if being added to an existing qualification, or two-and-a-half if it is the only entitlement required.
If you are only looking to ever carry one class of Dangerous Goods, e.g. a petrol tanker driver, then it may be possible to trim down the training so you are only taught the Core and Packages/Tanks modules along with the module you require and will take the time down slightly. You should check with your provider to see if this is possible but it might be worthwhile going through the whole course as it will bulk up your CV and maybe lead to further job opportunities.
Candidates must hold a UK or Northern Ireland driving licence in order that a licence can be issued, this does not have to be a full driving licence. ADR licenses are valid for 5 years and must be renewed by undertaking a refresher course during the 4th year.