29th October 2020

If you operate inside of the M25 you’ll want to consider whether your vehicle is compliant with the city’s soon-to-be-enforced Direct Vision Standard.     


According to the FTA, over 60% of all HGV’s over 12 tonnes will be banned from entering most of London without a permit. To avoid your vehicles being one of them, make the appropriate preparations ahead of time by taking note of the guidelines below…


What is the Direct Vision Standard?


The Direct Vision Standard is a requirement of all heavy goods vehicles over 12 tonnes travelling through, or operating in, Greater London. The Direct Vision Standard (DVS) measures how easily the HGV driver can see directly through their cab window, and has been put in place to protect all road users, but specifically pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. The initiative forms part of the Mayor of London’s Vision Zero plan to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries on London’s transport network by 2041.


From 1st March 2021 (posteponed from 26th October 2020), all HGVs over 12 T GVW will need to hold a valid HGV safety permit to enter the enforcement zone.


How is a vehicle’s safety measured?


The DVS is determined by the view from the truck’s cab window. Vehicles are rated from 0 -5 stars based on this (you can find out your vehicle’s rating from your manufacturer). The Star Rating determines what the operator needs to do next to obtain a safety permit.


As of 1st March 2021 (postponed from 26th October 2020) a minimum of 1* is required to obtain a safety permit. 


London’s Direct Vision Standard: What is it and how does it affect me?


The Enforcement area covers all of Inner London and outer London including main trunk roads coming into London. The map below illustrates the zone covered:

If you drive without a valid permit you may receive a penalty charge notice of up to £550. The same requirements apply to vehicles registered outside the UK.


How do I apply for my permit?


Applying for a permit is a completely free and fairly simple process. If your HGV is rated one to five stars you can apply for a permit, without the need to provide any additional evidence,  here.


If your vehicle is 0* there are steps you will need to take to improve the vehicle’s safety by retrofitting a safe system – this consists of 6 core items including mirrors, sensors, under-run protection, cameras and alerts for other road users (both audible and visual.) Once this has been done you can apply for a permit; supplying evidence of the changes that have been made to the vehicle.


If your vehicle meets the current 1* criteria, you will be able to apply for a permit lasting until 2024, but operators are still advised to install the safety equipment that a 0* vehicle would need to have retrofitted. Vehicles measuring 3*, 4* or 5* can apply for a ten year permit. From October 2024, HGVs rated below three stars will need to feature the Progressive Safe System. 


2020 is set to be a year of adjustment for operators in London, with a crackdown on Low Emission Zone standards coming in October – but more on that later...


Find out your star rating or more about whether you need a safety permit and how to get one.