The scheme will enter into force on 26 October 2020. Applying for a permit is free of charge, and permits will be granted automatically to any vehicle meeting the minimum DVS star rating, which will be one star at the scheme’s outset next year.
Vehicles not meeting the one-star threshold will need to meet additional ‘Safe System’ requirements. These include the installation of mirrors, side under-run protection except where impractical or impossible, external stickers and markings, a sensor system to alert drivers to vulnerable road users, an audible vehicle manoeuvring warning, and a camera monitoring system on the nearside.
The low-entry Mercedes-Benz Econic, such as the example pictured, in service with construction contractor Kilnbridge, has been awarded a five-star DVS rating due to features such as the panoramic windscreen, full-height glazed passenger door, and optimised driver seating position.
Once the scheme is live next October, driving an in-scope HGV without a valid permit may result in a penalty charge notice of up to £550.
Freight Transport Association (FTA) policy head Christopher Snelling reiterated his organisation’s views that DVS is not “the most effective approach”, but a “limited and expensive intervention”, adding: “Whatever we think of the scheme, FTA is advising businesses which work in the capital to apply for HGV Safety permits now to ensure they can continue operating their vehicles in London after the first phase of DVS launches in October 2020… Do not leave it until the last minute to apply.”
Operators can find out more about the DVS, their vehicles’ star ratings, the Safe System and the permit requirements on the TfL website.