Dangerous Goods Packaging

This page was last updated on 2nd March 2023

Annual Fees FAQs

In October each year, registered holders of Dangerous Goods Packaging Certificates will receive an invoice for the renewal of their approval(s) for 12 months commencing 1st January the following year.  Occasionally, due to changes of personnel or for other reasons, the invoice ends up in the hands of someone who is not fully aware of what it is for or the action that they are required to take. This information sheet is intended to address some of the questions that are asked most frequently.

Q. Why has VCA sent me/my company an invoice for these Annual Fees?

A. Because you are the registered holder of one or more packaging design-type approvals, which have, been issued to you by us on behalf of the Department for Transport (DfT).  The packaging approval is, in effect, a licence to manufacture and/or use a particular type of packaging for the transport of regulated Dangerous Goods, and to identify it with a unique UN (United Nations) approval marking.

Q. Why do you charge Annual Fees?

A. Annual fees support the operation of the UK package certification scheme, which VCA runs on behalf of the Department for Transport.  The scheme exists solely for the benefit of UK industry.

Q. Who sets the fees?

A. Fees are agreed annually between representatives of Industry Trade Associations, the Department for Transport and VCA, through the mechanism of the Packaging Scheme Review Committee. Any packaging manufacturer or user may seek representation on this committee through their recognised Trade Association.

Q. What does the fee consist of?

A. The Annual Fee is made up of two elements:

1.  A registration fee payable in respect of each address at which certificates are held.

2. A fee for each certificate held at a registered address – a scale of discount is applied for larger numbers of certificates held at one address.

If your company operates from multiple sites, there is an advantage in having all your certificates registered at one address.

Q. What would happen if my company does not pay?

A. Annual fee invoices are issued in early October and are due for payment by 31st December. If the annual fee has not been paid by the due date and you have not contacted us to cancel the packaging approval(s) (see below), it/they will be placed into suspension. In this condition, annual fees are still payable, but the approval(s) will cease to be valid for new production. No further examples of the packaging may be manufactured or used until the approval has been returned to Active status. This will only happen when all outstanding fees have been received.

Q. What do I do if I don’t want the packaging approval(s) any more?

A. If you are absolutely certain that no one in your company is using, or in future will need to use the packaging covered by this approval, you may cancel it by writing to us and returning the Certificate. We will then issue a credit note for all or part of the fee as appropriate. Once cancelled, the UN package marking will cease to be valid and it will be an offence under the carriage regulations to apply it to any packaging.

To avoid incurring unnecessary costs, you should notify VCA of your intention to cancel before the annual fee falls due.

Q. If I cancel my packaging approval, can I reinstate it at a later date?

A. No. If you think you might need it in the future, you should pay the fee to retain it on the active register. If you cancel the approval, the package to which it relates will have to be re-tested before a new approval is issued and this can be costly.

Q. I cannot pay the invoice unless VCA quotes our Purchase Order number.

A. When the approval certificate was issued, someone in your company will have signed an agreement to pay periodic fees associated with its maintenance. If you are unable to process the renewal invoice without a purchase order, you should raise one, or seek one from the invoice addressee (if this is not you), who as the contact registered with us is likely to be the person or successor to the person who made the agreement.

If you still have unanswered queries, please contact the VCA Dangerous Goods Office on 01372 226110 quoting the invoice number and approval reference(s).