What we do and for whom?This page was last updated on 2nd March 2023
For over 30 years the United Kingdom has tested and certificated packaging and intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) to the UN Model Regulations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. Since April 2007, the Vehicle Certification Agency’s Dangerous Goods Office (DGO) has been responsible for operating the UK certification scheme; in connection with this role, DGO:
- Issue Performance Certificates to packaging and IBC design-types which have been successfully tested by an accredited test body in accordance with the UN Model Regulations Allocate unique GB UN approval marks, which are recognised multi-modally throughout the world
- Maintain records of all UN packaging approvals issued by the UK
- Operate a quality assurance program involving the periodic inspection of production examples of UN approved packaging.
- Publish Operational Instructions for Test Stations, detailing the methods and procedures which must be followed when testing dangerous goods packaging and IBCs.
- Advise on the use of dangerous goods packaging
Learn more about package certification
Our knowledgeable and experienced staff can provide assistance to help consignors and carriers understand their duties under the various dangerous goods regulations, particularly in relation to packaging and transport. We offer:
- A free telephone helpline for basic enquiries concerning the transport of dangerous goods by all modes Consultancy services to help you comply with UK and international Road, Rail, Sea and Air transport regulations
- Bespoke in-house training courses for companies, covering any aspect of the Dangerous Goods Transport Regulations.
Appointment of Inspection Bodies
Tanks which are used for the transport of dangerous goods and most transportable pressure receptacles must be inspected periodically for condition and safety. Inspections may only be conducted by bodies appointed by a Competent Authority. Since 1st February 2009, the Dangerous Goods Office has been responsible for appointing suitable bodies.
In connection with this function DGO:
- Appoint, maintain or withdraw appointments on the recommendation of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS)
- Answer day to day operational queries on appointments, applications or interpretation of the regulations etc.
- Compile and publish guidance documents to aid inspection bodies in fulfilling their duties
- Gather data on the number and type of tanks and pressure receptacles inspected.
- The Dangerous Goods Division of the Department for Transport retains general policy responsibility for tank and cylinder issues, the standards which should be applied, the regulatory requirements etc.
More on inspection body appointments
Alternative Aerosol Leakproofness Test Methods
Aerosol dispensers and gas cartridges are required by law to pass a leakproofness test before they are offered for carriage. The approved method requires each aerosol to be immersed in a hot water bath and inspected; a task usually accomplished immediately after the receptacle has been pressurised. It is recognised internationally that this is not without problems, and since publication of the 2007 revision of ADR, and the re-publication of the EC Aerosol Dispensers Directive, national Competent Authorities may authorise the use of alternatives to the hot water bath method for aerosol dispensers (but not gas cartridges), providing an equivalent level of safety is maintained.
The VCA Dangerous Goods Office is the body responsible for authorising aerosol fillers to operate an alternative to the hot water bath leakproofness method in the UK. In this role we:
- Perform a technical assessment of the proposed alternative method
- Periodically audit the filler’s quality assurance system to confirm its effectiveness
- Issue, maintain or withdraw authorisation allowing the filler to use the alternative method
- Publish guidance and answer queries as necessary.
More information and how to apply for authorisation
Our clients include:
- Packaging manufacturers, chemical producers and distributors, freight forwarders, carriers and exporters
- UK government, e.g. Department for Transport, the Health & Safety Executive, the Civil Aviation Authority and Maritime & Coastguard Agency, to whom we provide technical expertise in support of the development of international regulations and their implementation domestically
- The European Commission
For all technical matters related to our services please contact us at:
VCA Dangerous Good Office
Wesley House, Bull Hill
Telephone: +44 (0)1372 226110
For questions specific to invoicing, please contact our Bristol office on 0117 9524155.
The role of VCA
If you have any questions about the role of VCA, or our relationship with the Department of Transport,
please get in touch.