The proposed changes
As promised in a previous blog we are going to take a brief look at the proposed changes to the operational weights of volumetric mixers or MCBPs.
What is it about?
An additional outcome of the Department for Transport (DfT) consultation on the exemptions from testing and plating concerned the operational weights of Mobile Concrete Batching Plant vehicles or volumetric mixers. The current operational practice for these vehicles is to run at ‘up to or above’ the design gross weight of the vehicle which is above normal axle weight limits. The DfT response to this issue raised in the consultation is that this practice must not continue.
The Temporary Proposal
The DfT proposes the temporary use of Vehicle Special Orders (VSOs) to restrict MCBP axle weights to no more than 20% more than the standard limits. This measure is temporary with DfT envisaging this arrangement lasting for between 7 and 10 years.
The DfT will issue VSOs to individual vehicles at the operator’s request which will specify the normal regulatory requirements that apply to the vehicle plus any addition conditions. The VSO will provide details of any derogations from the regulations that apply to the vehicle, on the basis that all other regulatory requirements not included in the VSO will apply.
With relation to the Road Vehicles (Authorised Weight) Regulations 1998 (AWR) the following gross vehicle weights will apply to the relevant MCBP configurations;
5-axle (or more) rigid
Other considerations will be;
· The gross vehicle weight will not exceed 6 tonnes per metre of the wheel base of the vehicle, from front axle to rear axle, AND
· The AWR axle weight limits shall not apply (although the axle weight shall not exceed the standard axle weights by more than 20%).
The Permanent Solution?
During the consultation process, the section of industry using MCBP vehicles indicated that they would favour a new design of vehicle using five axles as opposed to the four-axle vehicles currently being used. The DfT are currently proposing, as part of the permanent solution, that operators may be able to add an additional axle to certain vehicle configurations. This would not allow operators to exceed the standard axle weights of the vehicle and would be carried out through the special types regime.