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Is Your Diesel Bowser Compliant?

16 August, 2019
In May, new UK law ended a 15-year exemption for diesel bowsers that don’t adhere to ADR road carriage requirement.

Have you ensured that your diesel bowser is compliant?

What are the new regulations?

Bowsers that were manufactured before 10th May 2004, or that are classed as tanks rather than intermediate bulk containers (IBCs), are no longer permitted to transport fuels on public roads.

Why are they being introduced?

In 2004, red diesel (gas oil) and diesel (derv) were both reclassified as flammable and combustible liquids. As a result, new requirements were introduced to ensure these fuels are transported safely with no risk of spillage on public roads.

The exemption period was introduced by the DfT to give enough time for the changeover. During this time, certain models of tanks that are no longer compliant were allowed to be temporarily classed as IBCs.

What does the new legislation mean?

Bowsers can still be used to move fuel on private sites. However, your bowsers must be IBC compliant if out on public roads.

Is my bowser compliant?

There are a few ways to check if your bowser is compliant:
- If your bowser was manufactured after 10th May 2004, it will meet IBC standards
- Your bowser must be able to hold 110% of its contents. Single-skinned bowsers are no longer permitted to transport fuels on public roads.
- The bowser documentation or certification should state whether your bowser is classed as a tank or an IBC
- Bowsers classed as IBC will have the UN packaging symbol and codes designating the type of IBC, and should have approval or manufacturer plates.
- Your bowser should have pressure testing records. IBCs require pressure testing and external inspections every two years, and an internal inspection every five years to ensure they’re road-safe.

What do the new diesel bowser rules mean for farmers?

Tractors that pull bowsers at speeds under 40kmh are exempt from ADR rules up to the maximum design capacity of the bowser - as long as it’s safe and roadworthy. Bowsers pulled by other vehicles, such as a 4×4, must adhere to the new rules.
You must ensure that your transport is road legal. To discuss your requirements, speak with the experts in AF’s Machinery department on 01603. 881 879 or email

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