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Direct Vision Standard

Direct Vision Standard and HGV Safety Permit

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The Direct Vision Standard (DVS) and safety permit for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) requires operators of vehicles over 12 tonnes gross weight to obtain a safety permit before operating in and entering London. Otherwise, you may receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).


HGV safety permit and requirements

Whether or not the operator considers the vehicle to meet the requirements, all lorries over 12 tonnes (GVW) entering or operating in Greater London need to hold a valid HGV safety permit before using the area to avoid receiving a PCN.

The HGV safety permit scheme covers most of Greater London and is in operation 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

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DVS Star Rated Vehicles and Safe System

HGV operators must apply for a permit for their vehicles before travelling through the area. A permit will be granted if the vehicle meets the minimum DVS star rating.

If your vehicle does not meet the minimum DVS star rating, you will need to make your vehicle safer by fitting it with Safe System improvements, or you may receive a PCN.

What you need to know about DVS star ratings and Safe System improvements >>.

The Government continue to work with vehicle manufacturers to assign star ratings for their vehicles. Check to see if they hold your star rating and apply for a permit. Find information and guidance about the application process.

Zero Star Rating Self-Certification

If you are applying for a single vehicle, we do not hold details for, and you know the vehicle has a star rating of zero, you can still submit an HGV Safety Permit application.
To self-certify the vehicle as zero star rated you must upload a written statement as part of your application.

The statement must include the following:

  • Your name
  • Number plate (vehicle registration mark)
  • Vehicle make and/or model
  • Statement that you are providing self-certification of the vehicle’s zero star rating

Once you receive confirmation that our records have been updated, you can make a zero star HGV Safety Permit application for the vehicle.

Grace period

There is a 90-day grace period to support operators who have ordered Safe System components ahead of the 1 March enforcement start date and have experienced delays in supply and fitting.

Requests to benefit from the Grace Period must have been made before 1 March 2021. Operators informing of a delay after this date will not be eligible for the grace period.

TfL will review all these requests and send written confirmation of the outcome. Once your Safe System equipment has been fitted, you must follow the DVS Permit Application process.


A small number of vehicles are entitled to an exemption from the HGV Safety Permit Scheme. These include specialist construction vehicles built for mainly off-road use (for example, telehandlers and mobile cranes).

If your vehicle is registered in the UK it should automatically be exempt and you don’t need to register it. However, please check the star rating of your vehicle. If your vehicle is not recognised as being exempt, or if your vehicle is registered outside the UK, you will need to contact DVS2021. When contacting, please upload a copy of your vehicle’s V5C and photos of the front, rear and side of the vehicle with the VRM plate clearly visible. It will then be reviewed, and you’ll be sent you written confirmation of the outcome.

Enforcement and penalties

If you drive an HGV within most of Greater London without a valid permit you may receive a penalty charge notice (PCN) of up to £550 (reduced to £275 if paid within 14 days).

Vehicles from outside of the UK

Vehicles registered outside the UK more than 12 tonnes gross vehicle weight entering or operating in most of Greater London will also need to hold a valid permit. You can apply for a permit as usual. Where we ask for your registration documents, such as a V5C log book, we accept foreign equivalents.

Progressive Safe System

The Safe System will be reviewed and consulted on in 2022 and will take into account any additional technology or safety equipment not currently available.

Any new equipment or technology proposed for the Progressive Safe System must be able to be retrofitted to HGVs, industry recognised and readily available on the market at the time.

From October 2024, HGVs rated below three stars will need to feature the Progressive Safe System.

Other charges which may apply:

Congestion Charge (CC)

Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

Low Emission Zone (LEZ)


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