The Department for Transport has announced a temporary, and limited, emergency relaxation of rules governing tanker drivers in reaction to the industrial action at Grangemouth refinery in Scotland.

The temporary relaxation currently applies until 23:59 on Thursday 28 February 2013 and will apply only to drivers involved in the delivery of fuel within Scotland and northern England; with the latter being defined as the Government regions of North East England, Yorkshire and the Humber and North West England (England as far south as and including Cheshire, West and South Yorkshire and the North and North East Lincolnshire Council areas).

For the drivers and work in question, the EU drivers’ hours rules will be temporarily relaxed as follows:

• Replacement of the EU daily driving limit of 9 hours with one of 11 hours;

• Reduction of the daily rest requirements from 11 to 9 hours;

• Lifting the weekly (56 hours) and fortnightly driving limit (90 hours);

• Postponing the weekly rest requirement until 23:59 Thursday 28 February 2013, at which stage a driver has to take a minimum rest of 24 hours (with no compensatory rest required).

The requirement to take a 45-minute break after 4½ hours driving remains.

The enforcement of working time rules has also been relaxed for this period to allow drivers to work up to 66 hours instead of the usual 60 hour weekly maximum.