EP Training

Thu, March 31, 2022

ADR Training

ADR Training

Typically an ADR licence is something that is regarded as needed by only HGV drivers to transport Dangerous Goods (DG) by road, however, that is not always the case.  It’s interesting to know that holders of motorbike licences can also acquire the DG by road licence.  The reason being that motorbikes or cars may need an ADR training certificate.  For example, Radioactive isotopes (Class 7) may need to be transported by road and an LGV is not required or suitable on this occasion.  In this instance a motorcyclist can easily move the Class 7 as opposed to 12-wheel mode of transport.  So, the myth that you need an HGV licence in order to get an ADR licence is just that.  A myth!

Having said all that over 98% of ADR vocational licence holders are also HGV drivers.  An ADR licence is a vocational certificate that drivers who transport Dangerous Goods (DG) by road must possess.

Not everyone who transports DG will need a full ADR licence though, as you need to be carrying a certain minimum quantity in order to come within the scope of ADR regulations.  For example, you can carry up to 1,000 litres of diesel before an ADR licence is needed.  In this instance an ADR licence may not be required suitable and periodic training may suffice (DG awareness).

Part of the ADR regulations also stipulate any company involved in the carriage of DG by Road (that come within the scope of ADR) must appoint a Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor (DGSA).  A DGSA is there to advise on all matters relating to ensuring ADR regulations are adhered to.

So, an ADR licence is required by the driver and a DGSA is needed by the carrier, freight forwarder and consignor.


Understanding ADR


ADR is an abbreviation of Accord Dangereux Routier. It is a European Agreement which harmonises rules and regulations concerning the transportation of DG by road across other countries.  It’s main objective is to improve road safety and educate and inform professional drivers on the hazards and potential risks associated when moving DG by road.


Purpose and Impact


ADR is known to some as the “orange books”.  These 2 publications, re-issued every 2 years is the bible of how DG must be moved legally and safely.  It advises on all matters relating to transporting DG by road, including limited quantities, PPE, special provision, classification of hazards, fire regulations, training, the role of a DGSA, transport categories, mixed loading etc.


ADR Regulations in the UK


The UK has its own rules concerning transporting DG within the UK, however, when the UK joined the EU nearly all regulations transferred over to the European ADR.

Despite the UK having left the EU, ADR rules still apply for nearly all UK and European journeys.

There have been over the years many instances of tragic deaths associated with moving hazardous cargo by road.  This includes the driver, other road users and pedestrians.  However, due to regulation and training this number has declined despite the amount of DG being moved and road users increasing.


Safety Improvements



Driving knowledge, road safety improvements and advances in technology have meant moving DG on the highway has never been safer.

A holder of an ADR licence is someone who has a thorough knowledge and understanding of what dangerous goods they are transporting, what are the risks associated and how to deal with any related emergencies.


Obtaining Your ADR License


This vocational licence is valid for 5 years and is a card/licence that is issued by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).  The SQA is an examination body that is the current DFT provider of choice regarding ADR and DGSA examinations.

The SQA are responsible to the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) who are in turn answerable to the Department for Transport (DFT).

The number of training units (hours and days) and exams needed to be sat will depend on what type of ADR licence you want.

Typically, HGV drivers will opt for the 3.5 or 5 day ADR course.

The 3.5 day Packaged Goods ADR licence is the shorter of the two whereas the same course by adding the Tanker element makes it 5 days.


ADR License Classes


Normally, Class 2, Rigid, Cat C HGV holders will complete the Packaged Goods 3.5 day course but Class 1, Artic HGV licence holders will undergo the 5 day Packaged Goods and Tanker sessions.

The main reason being that Class 1 drivers are more likely to transport DG in road tankers as opposed to Class 2 Rigid holders who will transport DG in anything other than tankers, i.e. curtainsiders, boxed and even skip type trucks.

There are a total of 9 classes of Dangerous Goods listed in the ADR regulations - these include:

  • Class 1: Explosives.  A very niche class typically moved by a finite number of companies including for example firework display organisations or the military.
  • Class 2: Gasses.  Required by BOC Gases, Calor Gas etc.
  • Class 3: Flammable Liquids. By far the most common class of dangerous goods transported worldwide. Includes petrol and diesel.
  • Class 4: Flammable Solids. This would include oily rags!
  • Class 5: Oxidising Substances. Including, for example, organic peroxides and fertilizers.
  • Class 6: Toxic Substances. This class includes infectious substances. Many chemists, vets and hospitals will require their drivers to have this module.
  • Class 7: Radioactives. Again, like Class 1, a very specialist class. Many non-HGV licence holders will still require an ADR licence when moving this substance.
  • Class 8: Corrosives.                      
  • Class 9: Misc. substances. In summary, Class 9 is for DGs that do not fit the criteria of any of the other 8 Classes.

To acquire an ADR ticket students must complete mandatory training in the guise of attending classroom sessions.  As a result of Covid it is still possible to complete the ADR tuition online however companies like EP Training decided to keep the tuition in the classroom.  The reason for this is there are examinations to complete and the best way to get test passes is to have had classroom rather than online tuition.  EP Training believes a classroom environment is a better way to interact with the instructor and confirm knowledge.

Everyone that requires an ADR training certificate must attend first the Core Module.  Regardless of what class of DG they need, the Core part must be completed initially.


ADR Training and Exams


The Core section covers basic health & safety, fire precaution, dealing with emergencies and other topics.

It takes 1.5 days to complete the core module and will typically run on the Monday and Tuesday (day 1 or 2) of the course.

On any ADR training week, Tuesday afternoon is normally set aside for the packages module.  If the intention is to move DG in any mode other than a tanker (box vehicles, curtainsiders etc) then the packaged part must be obtained.  The packages course mainly deals with how ADR classes must be packed and stored suitably for transport and display all relevant markings and labelling.

After the Packaged ADR training modules come the classes.  A 3.5 packaged goods and the 5 day combined Package and Tanker course covers all the 9 classes of hazardous goods with the exception of Class 1 (Explosives) and Class 7 (Radioactives).

As mentioned previously, Classes 1 and 7 are moved by a very small number of operators and as such most HGV drivers won’t need either of these modules on their ADR licence.  Therefore, it’s not covered in the main courses.

Classes 1 and 7 are one-day in duration each.  The Core module, which is 1.5 days must be sat and passed beforehand.  So the total training and testing time needed in order to get an ADR licence would be 2.5 days.

The Packaged Goods element is not needed though.  This only applies to ADR holders who are only moving Explosives and/or Radioactives.  EP Training, based in Surrey is one of only a few ADR approved organisations that actually provide Class 1 and 7 tuition.

After Classes 1 and 7, the other 7 classes will be covered during any “normal ADR training week.”   Excluding the Gases and Flammable Liquids classes which are 1.5 hours, the remaining classes are 45 minutes each only.

So, those attending the Packaged Goods course with EP Training will attend the following and pass their respective examinations:

  • Core, Pack, Classes 2,3,4,5,6,8 and 9.
  • Those completing the 5-day combined course must attend and pass the following ADR training sessions:
  • Core, Tank, Pack, Classes 2,3,4,5,6,8 and 9.


Training Importance and Approach


This 1.5 day course is normally bolted onto the back of the Packaged Goods course and is typically run on a Thursday afternoon and all day Friday.  If you transport DG in a tanker that has a maximum capacity exceeding 3,000 litres then the tanker element of an ADR licence must be obtained.  Any tanker container less than 3,000 litres is regarded as a “Package”.

A good example of someone that requires the tanker section added on their ADR licence would be a petrol tanker delivery driver.  In this instance they would need to acquire the Core, Tank and Class 3 (flammable liquids) parts of the ADR licence.

In the main those that complete the tanker part are HGV C+E drivers, however, it is not uncommon for Class 2 (Rigid) HGV holders to also complete this part.  For example, many domestic fuel deliveries are conducted by rigid licence holders.


ADR Examinations


Unlike Driver CPC training which requires attendance only, students needing an ADR licence must both attend the course and pass examinations.  Exams will be sat at the end of the training course.

The tests will be in a multi choice format and will cover what has been taught on the course.  The pass mark required in the tests is 70% and EP Training boasts a pass rate of 97%, well above the national average.

The questions are pitched at the equivalent of an NVQ level 2 standard and as long as the questions are read carefully and attention is paid whilst on the course there should be no reason to not pass.  There are also apps available that will provide sample questions, similar to the ones you will find in the examinations.

The ADR tests can be completed in one of two ways - paper or online.  There are over 150 training companies providing ADR tuition in the UK and over 60% of these providers still use the old-style paper-based examinations.

Doing exams via paper delays the ability to get quick results, the possibility to resit any failed parts immediately and subsequently the issuing of the ADR licence. 

The reason for the delay is that the paper exams must be posted to the exam body (SQA) based in Glasgow.

SQA then mark the papers, issue results and (if successful) issue the ADR card to the holder.  Paper based results and cards can take up to 6 weeks to be processed.  If any parts of the exam have received a ‘fail’ then students must come back and re-sit and then wait again for the result.  Quite a drawn-out process.

Online examinations are a much more efficient way of completing the ADR examinations.  Doing the exams real time means candidates get their results immediately after having sat their tests, also if any parts of the exam need to be re-taken then this can be done straight away.  Another bonus is the SQA are also notified of the results without delay meaning that the much-needed ADR licence is with its new owner in super quick time.

EP Training is pleased to offer online ADR testing.  They also give their students a free retest should they need to have another go.

It’s just another way EP provides an excellent service to their customers.  They provide ADR training most weeks of the year meaning you won’t have to wait to complete your course and get your ADR licence.

Getting the right ADR training is essential to ensure a test pass.  EP Training is regarded as one of the best training companies when it comes to ADR tuition.  They have been providing ADR training in Surrey since the 1980s and have trained over 15,000 ADR drivers.

ADR Refresher Training

Your ADR licence will have an expiry date.  It will be valid for five years only.  There is an opportunity to renew your VTC as long as you have no more than 12 months and a minimum of 6 weeks left on your current ADR licence.

EP Training advise attending a 3.5 or 5 day ADR initial course before the current licence expires instead of attending a 2.5 day refresher course.  The reason being is you can only acquire a maximum of 7 hours CPC whilst completing a refresher course as opposed to getting 21 hours for a 3.5 day initial course or 28 hours for a 5-day session.

ADR with Driver CPC

As most professional drivers that require ADR are HGV holders they will be subject to Driver CPC requirements.

Driver CPC is needed by all commercial lorry drivers and means having to complete 35 hours formal tuition every 5 years.  Broken down that equates to 5 sessions of 7 hours.  It’s worth noting that attending an ADR course can also count as Driver CPC training.  Not all ADR training companies are approved to provide Driver CPC training so much sure before you book that you check you will get hours!

If you can get Driver CPC hours whilst completing an ADR training course then it means not having to complete more CPC training at a later date.  Also, you are in essence getting 2 qualifications at the same time.

Complete a 3.5 day Packaged Goods course with EP Training (Core, Pack and Classes 2,3,4,5,6,8 and 9) and get 21 hours counted as Driver CPC training.  Please note the ½ day (Thursday) is set aside for exams which cannot be counted as CPC hours).  Also, it’s not 7 hours in duration.

If you complete a 5-day Packaged Goods and Tanker course with EP Training (Core, Tank, Pack and Classes 2,3,4,5,6,8 and 9) you get 35 hours counted as Driver CPC training.

The ½ day (Thursday) is set aside for exams which cannot be counted as CPC hours).  In this instance 28 hours is the maximum number of CPC hours that can be gained during the 5 days.

However, if you book the 5-day Packaged Goods and Tanker course with EP Training then they will provide you with another 7 hours Driver CPC training course free of charge which can be completed at a later date.

Once exams have been passed SQA will issue a VTC (Vocational Training Certificate).  Better known as your ADR licence.


Renewing and Combining



This licence is NOT sent out via the DVLA, as used to be the case.  SQA will have the contact details you will have provided to your ADR training company.  Your ADR card will be valid for 5 years and will display (on the back) the classes you can transport and in what particular mode (Packaged and/or Tanks).  It is a legal requirement to carry your ADR licence with you whilst transporting DG that come within the scope of ADR.

As a professional trucker you are responsible for the vehicle, load and its contents whilst on the public highway.  Therefore, it is vital that you know your obligations concerning the transportation of dangerous goods by road.

We hope this post will be of interest and use to you and thank you for taking the time to read it.  For more information please call EP Training Services on 01372 450 800 or book your ADR course online.