ILLEGAL HORSE TRANSPORTERS TARGETED
The Vehicle Inspectorate has now impounded several hundred vehicles for operating without the correct licences.
Horsebox owners could also have their vehicles impounded by the Vehicle Inspectorate and then scrapped or sold – just for playing the good Samaritan after a fellow owner has broken down. It is illegal to accept any form of payment - even in kind - for transporting horses without an Operators Licence and the correct hire and reward insurance.
Over the last few years many people have been tempted to accept payment for transporting horses, often with the best intentions. Individual horsebox owners have been recruited by rescue companies to assist others in the case of breakdown. This is fine if the individual concerned has an Operators Licence and the correct hire and reward insurance. If not, they stand a very real chance of losing their vehicle altogether. Being told that the company concerned holds a licence and insurance that covers you simply is not good enough, no matter how reliable or well known that company appears to be.”
VOSA can seize any horsebox with a gross plated weight of 3.5 tonnes or unladen weight of more than 1.525 tonnes found to be contravening the legislation. Vehicles are taken to a secure compound where they remain for 21 days. The operator may appeal against wrongful impounding and any appeal must be made within 21days of the impounding
Appeals have to be made to the Traffic Commissioner and then to the transport tribunal but ignorance of the law will not help. Miranda Roberts of the Vehicle Inspectorate recently warned that “The grounds for appeal do not include the owner of the horsebox being unaware of this change in Department of Transport law.”
The Vehicle Inspectorate’s national helpline for advice is on 0870 60 60 440. This number includes a confidential line allowing drivers and members of the public to pass on information about potential lawbreakers to the VI’s Intelligence Unit. Any company that actively encourages the practice should also be reported. Information may also be given and obtained from your local VOSA Enforcement Office
If your vehicle is plated to carry over 3,500kg, you may need to apply for an operators licence. For information on exemptions, see Part 19. If you have any queries regarding your own vehicle, please contact your local VOSA Traffic Area Offices.
Operators Licence Guide
Part 1 - Background
Part 2 - Who needs an operator's licence
Part 3 - How do I get a licence?
Part 4 - Requirements for a licence
Part 5 - Operating centres
Part 6 - Professional competence
Part 7 - Convictions
Part 8 - Objections, representations and complaints
Part 9 - Environmental factors & conditions
Part 10 - The Issue of a licence
Part 11 - Changes to a licence
Part 12 - Holding companies and subsidiaries
Part 13 - Disciplinary action
Part 14 - Public inquiries
Part 15 - Appeals to the Transport Tribunal
Part 16 - Summary of the Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness
Part 17 - Fees & refunds
Part 18 - Advice on community authorisations
Part 19 - Vehicles which do not need to be on an operator's licence
Part 20 - Weight thresholds
If you have Adobe Acrobat reader, you can download the .pdf files:
Operators Licence Guide.pdf - (file size 1.23Mb - download time approx. 7 minutes)
GV79 O Licence Application Form.pdf - (file size 131kb - download time approx. 1 minute)
If you would like to download Adobe Acrobat reader, the software is available to download free at www.adobe.com
The main purpose of Goods Vehicle Operator Licensing is to ensure the safe and proper use of goods vehicles and to protect the environment around operating centres.
The licensing system is run in the following way:
Great Britain is divided into eight Traffic Areas, with six administrative Traffic Area Offices (TAOs). All forms referred to in this guide are available from those offices. Their addresses and telephone numbers can be found on the TAO map. Northern Ireland is covered by a separate licensing system.
The person who issues licences in each area is called the 'Traffic Commissioner'. This is an independent person appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions.
The licensing provisions are found in the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995 (the Act), the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Regulations 1995, and the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators)(Fees) Regulations 1995.
The guide on this website seeks to answer many of the questions asked about goods vehicle operator licensing. If you need more information, please contact your local Traffic Area Office.
Please note that the guide does not provide legal advice - for that you would need to seek independent professional advice.
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Who needs an operator's licence?
1. You need an operator's licence to carry goods (or burden) connected with any trade or business if you "use" a motor vehicle on a road with:
- a gross plated weight of more than 3.5 tonnes; or
- if it has no gross plated weight, an unladen weight of more than 1525kg.
2. The use of vehicle combinations also requires a licence. Further details on weights, including relevant combination weights, can be found in Part 20.
Who is the user of a vehicle?
3. You use a vehicle if you are the driver and are the owner, or the vehicle is in your lawful possession under an agreement for hire, hire purchase, or loan.
4. You also use a vehicle if the driver is your servant or agent.
NB You need an operator's licence even if you use a vehicle only for a short period, 2 or 3 weeks or even just one day.
Are there any general exceptions?
5. Yes. You do not need a licence to use certain types of vehicles or to carry out certain functions. An outline of these exemptions is listed in Part 19.
6. If in any doubt about whether or not you need a licence contact your nearest Traffic Area Office - see the TAO map.
What kind of licence do I need?
7. An operator's licence can be issued in one of three formats:
- Standard National
- Standard International
8. To carry your own goods in the course of your trade or business in Great Britain you need a restricted licence. You must not carry goods for other people for hire or reward if you have a restricted licence. If you do, you could be fined and lose your licence.
9. A standard national licence allows you to carry your own goods in Great Britain, and to carry goods for other people for hire or reward in Great Britain. Even if you carry other people's goods only occasionally, you must have a standard national licence. You can be fined if you use your vehicles for international hire or reward work when your licence covers you for national operations only. However, a standard national licence allows you to haul loaded trailers to or from ports within Great Britain as part of an international journey as long as your motor vehicles do not actually leave Great Britain.
10. A standard international licence allows you to carry your own goods, and goods for other people for hire or reward, both in Great Britain and on international journeys. Operators who are issued with international licences will also receive Community Authorisations which are required for all hire or reward operations in, or through, European Community countries. These have replaced the need for community permits, bilateral permits between member states and permits for transit traffic through the EU but not permits for travel to or through non-EU countries where these are still required. See Part 18 for further information.
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How do I get a licence?
How do I apply for a licence?
1. To apply for a new licence you need to complete a Form GV79. This form is available from your Traffic Area Office (TAO). The completed form, with the application fee (see Part 17), must be sent to the TAO in whose area you have an "operating centre". An operating centre is the place where you normally keep your vehicles when not in use. If your operating centre is close to the boundary between two TAOs check with one of them to find out where you should send your form.
2. If you are not sure how to fill in the form you can contact the Traffic Area Office for help or, for example, a Trade Association such as those listed elsewhere on this site.
Do I have to advertise my application?
3. You must advertise your application in a local newspaper circulating in each place where you are applying to have your operating centres. This gives anyone owning or occupying buildings or land in the vicinity of the operating centre an opportunity to make a representation against your application on environmental grounds. See Part 8.
4. Your GV79 application form contains a blank advertisement form and tells you how to fill it in. You can choose the size of the advertisement yourself, but it must be big enough to be easily read. The advertisement must appear at least once within the period running from 21 days before to 21 days after you make your application. Tear out the whole page of the newspaper showing your advertisement and send it straight away to the Traffic Commissioner. The page sent should contain the date and name of the paper. This will enable the TAO to check that you have advertised correctly. If when your advertisement appears you have not yet sent in your application form, you should do so without delay.
5. If you do not advertise your application properly, or within the correct period, the Traffic Commissioner may not be able to consider your application. You should check also that the total number of vehicles and trailers you have applied to be authorised to use (including any "margins" - see paragraph 11), is the same as the number you have stated in your advertisement. In addition to your advertisement, the Traffic Commissioner will publish details of your application in a publication called "Applications and Decisions". This is sent to various organisations including Local Authorities, Police and Trade Associations who have a statutory right to object to the grant of your application.
6. For information on advertising applications to vary an existing licence see Part 11.
When should I apply for a licence?
7. You should apply at least 9 weeks before the date when the licence is needed. This allows time for the Traffic Commissioner to make any enquiries thought to be needed. In straightforward cases a licence should be issued within those 9 weeks.
NB It is illegal to operate before a licence is issued.
What if I need to start operating urgently?
8. Write to the Traffic Area Office giving reasons why you want to operate urgently. The Traffic Commissioner may issue an interim licence, but can only do so if you have applied for a full licence. A fee will be charged for the issue of the interim licence and for each vehicle specified for use. When the fee is paid a vehicle identity disc will be sent to you for display on the windscreen.
9. Remember: an interim licence does not guarantee that you will get a full licence. Until you get a firm decision on that, you would be unwise to make any long term commitments.
10. The decision on whether or not to issue an interim licence will be made as soon as possible after the request, and a complete application is received. However, there may be occasions when the Traffic Commissioner will delay making a decision until the 21 day representation period for the advertisement has elapsed.
How many vehicles should I apply to use?
11. Your licence, if issued, will authorise you to use a maximum total number of motor vehicles and, if applicable, trailers, including semi-trailers. The number you apply for should take into account the number of vehicles you intend to use straight away and allow for some extra motor vehicles to cover increases in business and emergencies, such as breakdowns. This is particularly important if you use only a few motor vehicles. These extra motor vehicles are commonly referred to as "the margin". See Part 11, paragraph 7 for more information about the use of vehicles under "the margin".
How long does my licence last?
12. Under the system of continuous licensing, introduced on 1 January 1996, your licence once issued is yours for life unless you operate outside the terms of your licence, surrender it, or fail to pay the required fees to keep the licence live.
13. Please note that:
- a Traffic Commissioner can take disciplinary action at any time to curtail, suspend, or revoke your licence;
- if you do not pay the required fee on time your licence will automatically terminate;
- the Traffic Commissioner has the opportunity to review the suitability of the operating centres on your licence every 5 years.
For further information on reviews see Part 5, paragraphs 9 to 14.
14. Continuous licensing means that you do not have to apply for a new licence every 5 years. Instead your TAO will contact you every 5 years with a summary of the information it holds on record. You will be asked to confirm that information is correct and to pay the required continuation fee by a specified date. This fee will keep your licence in force and pay for the discs you will need to display in your vehicles.
15. Remember: if you do not pay your fees on time your licence will automatically terminate and you will have to stop operating and apply for a new licence.
Do I need to re-advertise at any stage?
16. Assuming your licence is not revoked for any reason you will only have to advertise again if you are applying for a new operator's licence in another Traffic Area, or to have your current licence varied in some way (see Part 11).
If I am an existing licence holder do I need a new-style licence document after 1 January 1996?
17. From the 1 January 1996 all five year licences automatically became continuous, except in those cases where a licence had previously been prematurely terminated for disciplinary reasons. The expiry date on your present licence became your operating centre review date. The Traffic Commissioner will take the opportunity to issue you with new-style licence documentation when your review date is reached, or before that if you apply for a major variation to your licence. You need take no action.
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Requirements for a licence
What are the requirements for getting a licence?
1. For any type of licence, you will have to satisfy the Traffic Commissioner that:
- · you and, if you have any, your partners or directors, are fit to hold a licence - see paragraph 3;
- · you will have proper maintenance facilities of your own, or arrangements with a garage and enough money to keep your vehicles fit and serviceable - see paragraphs 6 and 7;
- · you will have an operating centre suitable for your vehicles, bearing in mind such things as its size, location, availability and means of access - see Part 5 for more details about operating centres; and
- · you will have proper arrangements to ensure that the rules about drivers' hours are followed and that vehicles are not overloaded - more details can be found in the guide "Drivers Hours and Tachograph Rules for Goods Vehicles in the UK and Europe", details of which can be found elsewhere on this site.
2. For a Standard licence, you will also have to satisfy the Traffic Commissioner that:
- · you have enough resources to set up and run properly your road haulage business - see paragraph 8;
- · you, or a partner in your business who is responsible for the transport operations, are professionally competent; or you have in your employment one or more professionally competent transport managers who have continuous and effective responsibility for managing the transport operations of your business - see paragraphs 9 to 12; and
- · you, and all partners, directors and transport managers are of good repute - see paragraph 3.
How are fitness and good repute decided?
3. In deciding fitness (all applicants), the Traffic Commissioner will take account of certain convictions. These include convictions for vehicle overloading, defective vehicles, or unauthorised use; also convictions connected with vehicle plating and testing or drivers' hours. You must give details of any such convictions on the application form - see Part 7.
4. In deciding good repute (standard licence applicants only), the Traffic Commissioner will take account of any convictions covered by paragraph 3 above, and also any other relevant information. This includes any convictions that you or any partners, directors, transport managers or servants or agents have had in the UK or abroad. Details of convictions must be given on the application form - see Part 7.
5. If you or any partners, directors or transport managers are convicted of any offence after your licence application is sent in, you must give details to the Traffic Commissioner. Convictions after a licence has been issued must also be reported to the Traffic Commissioner immediately. Convictions after a licence application has been sent in and also after a licence has been issued, must be reported to the Traffic Commissioner - see Part 7.
What are the vehicle maintenance requirements?
6. You must satisfy the Traffic Commissioner that you will keep your vehicles fit and serviceable at all times. The Traffic Commissioner will want to see a copy of any maintenance contract or letter of agreement with a garage if you do not do this work yourself. Examples of the forms used for vehicle safety inspections will be required by the Traffic Commissioner regardless of whether or not the work is carried out by a garage. The "Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness", produced by the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions in partnership with the transport industry, gives full advice about the requirements for maintenance arrangements. A copy can be found on the DfT website or by .
What are the financial requirements?
7. For all types of licence, the Traffic Commissioner has to be satisfied that you have adequate financial resources to keep your vehicles fit and serviceable. You are asked to give details on the application form of any recent bankruptcy, insolvency, liquidation or disqualification in relation to a company. Applicants are asked for details of financial resources and to give supporting evidence (such as bank statements and statement of assets, or most recent accounts).
8. For a standard licence, the financial requirements go still further. You will also need to satisfy the Traffic Commissioner that you have adequate financial resources to start up and run the road haulage business properly. As well as assets (such as your vehicles and premises) there must be enough working capital (such as cash, loan facilities, or other assets that can be turned quickly into cash) to cover all expenses that are likely to arise before any money is earned to meet them. An applicant for a standard licence may be asked to fill in an extra form, GV79F. This form asks for details of your expected income and expenditure. The Traffic Area Office can provide details of the level of funding required.
What are the professional competence requirements?
9. There are 2 levels of professional competence - one for a standard national licence and another for a standard international licence.
10. Professional competence is established by:
holding a green certificate (GV203) issued by the Traffic Commissioner before 31 December 1979 stating that the holder was in responsible road transport employment under an operator's licence before 1 January 1975 (known as "grandfather rights"). If you do not already hold such a certificate, you cannot now claim one; or
passing the Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) examinations set by the Oxford, Cambridge and Royal Society of Arts Examinations Board (OCR); or
holding certain diplomas and qualifications from professional institutes.
11. As proof of professional competence, you must forward your original RSA or OCR CPC certificate, institute membership card etc or GV203 to the Traffic Commissioner with your application. This will be returned to you.
12. Part 6 gives more information about the professional competence requirements, including a list of the recognised qualifications and how to obtain a Certificate of Professional Competence.
Do these rules have to be met at all times?
13. The criteria of good repute, financial standing and professional competence which are incorporated in our domestic operator licensing system are set out in European legislation. There is a continuing requirement to meet these criteria. New rules on access to the profession came into effect in October 1999. These enable Traffic Area Offices to carry out interim checks at five yearly intervals to ensure that operator licence holders comply with these rules.
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What is meant by an "operating centre"?
1. An operating centre is where your vehicles are normally kept when not in use. The operating centre should provide sufficient off street parking for all your vehicles and trailers.
What constraints are there in accepting a site as an operating centre?
2. When you apply for a licence, you will be asked to list your proposed operating centres, with information about the vehicles which are to be kept there. The Traffic Commissioner will need to be satisfied that your operating centres are suitable - for example, that they will be big enough, with safe access, and in an environmentally acceptable location. If you do not own the operating centre you may be asked to provide evidence that you are entitled to use it.
3. In deciding environmental suitability, the Traffic Commissioner must, by law, take into account certain factors - these are listed in Part 9.
4. You will need additionally and separately to ensure that your proposed operating centre use meets the requirements of planning law. If you are unsure about the planning position you should consult your planning authority. Authorisation under an operator's licence does not convey any approval under planning law, and likewise approval under planning law is not a pre-condition for approval by a Traffic Commissioner.
5. If more details about your operating centres are needed, the Traffic Commissioner may send you an additional form - GV79E - to complete.
Once established are operating centres protected in any way?
6. Yes: there are safeguards for established operating centres.
7. In certain circumstances a Traffic Commissioner may not refuse an application on environmental grounds (other than for parking). If any of the operating centres you propose to use is currently on another operator's licence and is being transferred to your licence, then these provisions may apply to you.
8. There are also restrictions on action that can be taken against operating centres at time of review (see following paragraphs).
What is meant by a "review" of my operating centres?
9. The review is a check by the Traffic Commissioner on the continued suitability of an operating centre.
10. The Traffic Commissioner will have the opportunity to review all the operating centres on your licence every 5 years. It will be entirely at the discretion of the Traffic Commissioner whether or not to carry out a review. If your operating centres are not reviewed then they are secure for another five years unless you do not pay the required fees, operate outside the terms of your licence, or apply for a major variation.
What happens if the Traffic Commissioner does review my operating centres?
11. If the Traffic Commissioner does decide to review one or all of the operating centres on your licence you will be told. At review he may decide that no action is required but he has powers to act if necessary.
12. If an operating centre is found on review to be unsuitable the Traffic Commissioner has the power to attach conditions or vary existing ones for environmental and road safety reasons. The Traffic Commissioner must give you the opportunity to make representations about the effect that any conditions would have on your business before any conditions are attached.
13. At review the Traffic Commissioner also has the power to remove an operating centre from the licence. He would be able to do this for non-environmental reasons (for example road safety considerations), or because the operating centre was environmentally unsuitable by reason (only) of the parking of vehicles used under the licence at or near the centre in question.
14. There is a right of appeal conferred on the licence-holder where he is affected by added or varied conditions, or the removal of an operating centre. See Part 15, "Appeals to the Transport Tribunal" for further information.
Special provision for transfer of operating centres
15. If your application for a new licence, or for a variation to an existing licence, involves the transfer onto your licence of an operating centre currently on another operator's licence, and:
- that other operator is giving up his use of that operating centre;
- the operating centre is not shared by other operators; and
- you are prepared to use it on the same terms as the existing licence holder,
- you may be able to use a method that enables you to do this without advertising. For more information you should contact your local Traffic Area Office.
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(Relevant to Standard licences only)
Ways in which professional competence can be met
1. In the past GV203s, which are green "grandfather rights" certificates were issued by Traffic Commissioners to those with experience of operating licensed goods vehicles before 1 January 1975. These are acceptable as proof of professional competence for both national and international licence applications. If you do not already have one of these certificates, you cannot now claim one.
2. Copies of lost or damaged certificates can be obtained, free of charge, from the office of the Traffic Commissioner which issued the original certificate. Application should be made in writing by the person to whom the certificate was originally issued, giving their full name, age and date of birth and the reason for seeking a copy. If in any doubt about the process, or if the original office has closed or moved, contact should be made with any Traffic Area Office who will be able to give further information.
OCR examinations board examination
3. The examination for a Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) is set by the OCR Examinations Board (formerly the Royal Society of Arts (RSA)) acting as agents for DfT. There is a national examination which meets the requirements for a standard national licence and an additional international examination for a standard international licence. There are no academic entry requirements for the examination.
4. Details of examination dates, test and study centres, and a more detailed syllabus are available from the OCR Examinations Board, Westwood Way, Coventry, CV4 8HS (Tel: 02476 470033). Please click here to visit their website
5. There are no fixed rules or requirements for study. You can prepare for the examination by:
- attending a residential course
- attending a non-residential course
- studying with the help of a special learning pack or by a correspondence course
- studying without assistance.
- Other acceptable qualifications or diplomas
6. Certain other qualifications are acceptable as proof of professional competence. These are currently under review but if you have any of the following, you are likely to be exempt from the CPC examination.
a. For both a Standard National and Standard International licence:
- Fellow or Member of the Chartered Institute of Transport by examination and/or formal accreditation in Road Freight Transport.
- Fellow, Member, Associate Member, or Associate by Examination, of the Institute of Transport Administration in the road transport sector, on production of the necessary exemption certificate issued by the Institute. These exemptions are valid for 12 months only but can be re-issued on application to the Institute.
- Associate of the Institute of Transport Administration who has successfully completed the ILT/IoTA Certificate in Transport (Road Freight).
- Honorary Fellow, Fellow or Member of the Society of Operations Engineers.
- Fellow, or Associate of the Institute of the Furniture Warehousing and Removing Industry, or from 13 May 1995, Fellow or Associate of the Movers Institute.
- Certificate in Transport (Road Freight) awarded by the Institute of Logistics and Transport.
b. For a Standard National licence:
- Member of the Institute of Logistics and Transport (formerly the Chartered Institute of Transport in the UK) by examination and/or formal accreditation in Road Freight Transport.
- Certificate in Transport (Road Freight) awarded by the Institute of Logistics and Transport.
- Fellow, Member or Associate Member of the Institute of Transport Administration on production of the necessary exemption certificate issued by the Institute.
- Associate of the Institute of Transport Administration who has successfully completed the ILT/IoTA Certificate of Transport.
- Associate Member of the Society of Operations Engineers (by examination).
- General and Ordinary Certificate in Removals Management issued by the Institute of Furniture Warehousing and Removals Industry prior to 13 May 1995, or after that date the National Certificate in Removals Management issued by the Movers Institute.
- RSA Certificate in Road Freight Transport granted on or after 1 May 1984 which specifically contains a footnote granting exemption.
Validity of professional competence in other EU member states
7. A national qualification in professional competence can be used to satisfy other EU member states about professional competence. However, with the exception of RSA or OCR full professional competence certificates (National or International) issued since March 1992 if you want to operate in the national market of any other European Community Country you will need to obtain a mutual recognition certificate to support your application. This is available, on payment of a £20 fee. For further information contact the Traffic Area Office where you hold a licence or are a nominated Transport Manager on a licence. If neither of these apply to you contact any Traffic Area Office for further information.
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1. The test of fitness has to be satisfied by all licence applicants and licence holders. Amongst other things, a Traffic Commissioner takes into account particulars given of certain convictions - see paragraph 6 below.
2. "Good repute" requirements have to be met for Standard licences. A Traffic Commissioner will consider "any matter" (individuals), or "material evidence" (companies), before him about any convictions, including those listed below, or previous conduct which appear to relate to an operator's fitness to hold a licence.
3. Lack of frankness about convictions at the time of making an application, or non disclosure of convictions incurred after a licence is issued, constitutes a serious threat to the continuation of a licence.
4. At application stage, and thereafter, a Traffic Commissioner should be notified of all convictions which are not "spent". Convictions which are "spent" do not need to be disclosed to the Traffic Commissioner.
5. A conviction is "spent" for the purposes of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, when a specific "rehabilitation period" has passed provided that no further crimes were committed during that period. Further information and a leaflet "Wiping the Slate Clean" can be obtained from C4 Division, Home Office, Room 358, 50 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AT (Tel: 020 7273 2397).
All licence applications
6. Convictions less than 5 years old from the date of conviction, of the operator, including partners or directors, and the operator's servants or agents, in respect of the following, must be notified to the Traffic Commissioner:
- The maintenance of vehicles and failure to keep them in a fit and serviceable condition
- Vehicle testing and plating
- Drivers' hours & records
- Drivers' licensing
- International road haulage permits
- Forgery of, for example, licence documents
- Speed limits
- Contravention of parking restrictions & prohibitions
- Unlawful use of vehicles
- Certain waste related offences
- Standard licence applications
7. The Traffic Commissioner must be notified of convictions in respect of the matters listed above in paragraph 6, and foreign convictions on a par with those convictions. He must also be notified of any other convictions which are not "spent". For an individual applicant, their convictions and those of employees and agents are taken into account; for companies, convictions of the company, directors or other company officers or employees and agents are taken into account.
8. When considering good repute a Traffic Commissioner has to give particular attention to convictions for "serious" or "road transport" offences.
9. A "serious offence" is one for which a sentence of imprisonment of more than three months, a fine exceeding level 4 on the standard scale, or a community service order for more than 60 hours has been imposed.
10. "Road transport offence" is an offence under the law relating to road transport, in particular drivers' hours and rest periods, the weight and dimensions of commercial vehicles and road and vehicle safety. This may now also include offences concerning protection of the environment or professional liability.
All licences: action to take once licence has been issued
11. A condition attached to all licences requires Traffic Commissioners to be notified of convictions after the licence has been issued. Once a licence has been issued a licence holder must also notify a Traffic Commissioner of all prohibitions to drive unfit or overloaded vehicles if the licence holder was the owner of the vehicle when the prohibition was imposed.
NB Convictions must be notified to the Traffic Commissioner within 28 days of the dates of the convictions.
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Objections, representations, and complaints
Who can object to an application for a new licence or major variation?
1. The following have a right to object to the granting of an application for a licence or variation to a licence:
- a Chief Officer of Police
- a local authority (but not a Parish Council)
- a planning authority
- the British Association of Removers
- the Freight Transport Association
- the General and Municipal Workers Union
- the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers
- the Road Haulage Association
- the Transport and General Worker's Union
- the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers
- the United Road Transport Union
2. An objection must be in writing and must state the grounds on which it is made. These may relate to the qualities of the applicant and any operating centre he proposes to use. Objections to operating centres may be on environmental or non-environmental grounds, or both. At the same time as the objection is sent to the Traffic Commissioner, a copy must be sent to the applicant. The objection must reach the Traffic Commissioner no later than 21 days after the application is published in the Traffic Commissioner's publication "Applications and Decisions", copies of which may be obtained from Traffic Area Offices.
Who can make a representation against an application for a new licence or variation?
3. The owners or occupiers of land, or buildings, in the vicinity of an operating centre, who feel that the use of a site as an operating centre will prejudicially affect their use or enjoyment of their land, have the right to make representations to the Traffic Commissioner about an application for a new licence or a variation. Representations may be made only on environmental grounds and it is up to the Traffic Commissioner to decide, in the light of local circumstances, the geographical limit of "the vicinity" of an operating centre.
4. Like an objection, any representation against the issue of a new licence or variation must be made in writing and state the grounds on which it is made. At the same time as it is sent to the Traffic Commissioner, a copy must be sent to the applicant. The representation must reach the Traffic Commissioner within 21 days of the date the applicant's advertisement appeared in the local paper.
5. A guide to making representations can be found elsewhere on this website.
What happens next?
6. The Traffic Commissioner will consider all objections and representations made against an application. If the objections and representations are valid you will be given the opportunity to comment on the matters raised. This is usually done at a Public Inquiry. Having assessed all the information the Traffic Commissioner may:
- grant your application as applied for; or
- grant your application and attach conditions or undertakings; or
- refuse the application.
7. If there is to be a Public Inquiry, the Traffic Area Office staff will tell you where and when it will take place. It will be held on a week day and may take place at the Traffic Area Office or somewhere near to the operating centre. (See Part 14 for what happens at a Public Inquiry.)
Can anyone complain about my operating centre once my licence has been issued?
8. Yes. Anyone can complain at any time about the suitability of an operating centre after it has been specified on your licence. The Traffic Commissioner then has the opportunity to review those centres at five year intervals (see the sections on operating centre review in Part 5). If the Traffic Commissioner does decide to review he may impose or change conditions on your licence for road safety or environmental reasons, or he may remove an operating centre altogether.
9. You will be told by the Traffic Commissioner if he intends to review any of your operating centres. If the decision is taken not to review an operating centre then it is secure for another 5 years provided you pay your licence fees when they are due, and the Traffic Commissioner does not have to take disciplinary action.
10. If you wish to make a major variation to the way in which you use an operating centre specified in your licence you will need to make an application for change in the usual way. In most cases such an application would need to be advertised in a local newspaper.
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Environmental factors and conditions
1. For further details, consult Regulations 14 and 15 of The Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Regulations 1995.
2. When considering environmental matters associated with an application for a licence, or variation to an existing licence, the Traffic Commissioner will take into account:
- the nature and use of any other land in the vicinity of the operating centre, and the effect that granting the application would be likely to have on the environment of that land;
- how much harm would be done to the environment of the land in the vicinity, by granting an application which is materially to change the use of an existing (or previously used) operating centre;
- in the case of land not previously used as an operating centre, any planning permission (or planning application) relating to the operating centre or the land in its vicinity;
- the number, type and size of the authorised vehicles which will use the operating centre;
- the parking arrangements for the authorised vehicles which will use the operating centre;
- the nature and times of use of the operating centre;
- the nature and times of use of the equipment at the operating centre; and
- how many vehicles would be entering and leaving the operating centre, and how often.
3. To prevent or minimise adverse effects on the environment, the Traffic Commissioner may attach conditions to a licence covering:
- the number, type and size of authorised vehicles (including trailers) at the operating centre for maintenance or parking;
- parking arrangements for the authorised vehicles (including trailers) at the operating centre or in its vicinity;
- the times when the operating centre may be used for maintenance or movement of authorised vehicles; and
- how authorised vehicles enter and leave the operating centre.
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The issue of a licence
What happens when the Traffic Commissioner makes his decision?
1. If the Traffic Commissioner grants your application you will be asked to pay a further fee by a due date. The licence documents will not be issued until the fee has been paid and the licence does not come into force until the licence documents are issued. If the fee is not paid by the due date the grant ceases to have effect.
2. You are advised to read your licence document, and associated notes, carefully. The licence document will include:
- details of the licence holder and the licence number;
- details of the type of licence issued and the total number of motor vehicles and trailers authorised for use under it;
- details of the specified operating centres;
- the names of transport managers (as appropriate);
- conditions and undertakings; and
- a list of the registration marks of the motor vehicles you have specified.
3. Identity discs will be issued for each specified motor vehicle for which a fee has been paid. Each disc will show:
- the operator's name;
- the vehicle registration mark;
- the operator's licence number;
- the disc expiry date; and
- the type of licence.
4. The disc must be displayed on the windscreen of the vehicle to which it belongs - it may not be used on any other vehicle.
The discs are colour coded as follows:
- Orange - Restricted licence
- Blue - Standard National licence
- Green - Standard International licence
5. If you lose your licence documents or a vehicle disc(s), the Traffic Commissioner must be told in writing immediately. If the Traffic Commissioner is satisfied with your explanation, a replacement will be issued free of charge. Where the writing on a disc has faded, or the disc has been damaged, you can get a replacement at no cost from your Traffic Area Office by returning the old disc with details of your licence number and the vehicle registration mark.
How much do I pay for a new licence?
6. There is a non-refundable charge for making an application and this should be sent so as to be received with the application. If no fee is received your application will not be processed. If the application is granted you will be asked to pay a further fee. This fee has two elements - an issue charge and a vehicle fee for each motor vehicle to be specified on the licence. No fees are charged for trailers. Details of the fee structure are in Part 17.
7. Both elements normally have a cover life of 5 years but if you wish to you can elect to pay your vehicle fees on a yearly basis. You will have to choose at the time of a new licence grant or at continuation stage.
8. Details of the current fees can be found in Part 17.
If my application for a new licence is refused, or not granted as applied for, do I have the right to appeal?
9. If your application is refused or granted in terms other than what you have applied for you have a right of appeal to the Transport Tribunal. If any statutory objection has been made to your application, and your application is granted, then the objector(s) concerned also have a right of appeal to the Transport Tribunal. See Part 15 for further details.
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Changes to a licence
What do I do if I want to remove a specified vehicle from my licence?
1. If you stop using a specified vehicle listed on your licence, you must notify the Traffic Commissioner within 21 days and return the disc which was issued for that vehicle, together with your licence documents, including the vehicle list, for amendment.
2. If you are not adding a vehicle at that stage a "paid-for" credit space will be left on your licence for when you wish to add another vehicle later on (see Part 17 for advice on refunds).
How do I change the vehicles listed on the licence?
3. Send your licence documents, including the vehicle list GV79A, to the Traffic Commissioner with a completed GV80 listing the registration numbers of the vehicles to be taken off and those to be added on. Discs for removed vehicles must be returned with the GV80.
4. The licence documents will then be amended and returned to you. Discs for added vehicles will be sent to you on payment of a fee if you do not hold credits.
5. This type of change does not have to be advertised by you, or published by the Traffic Commissioner provided that the total vehicle authorisation of the licence is not exceeded.
What do I do if I want to use more vehicles?
6. Your licence when first issued will authorise you to use up to a maximum number of motor vehicles and trailers. If the number of vehicles specified on your licence (ie recorded by registration mark on the vehicle list) is less than the number you are authorised to use, you can take on extra vehicles at any time provided you do not exceed the maximum number authorised, and provided any conditions attached to your licence allow you to do so. The difference between the number of specified vehicles and the maximum number of vehicles authorised on your licence is commonly called 'the margin'.
7. Any vehicle which is being used on the margin can only be so used for one month. The vehicle ceases to be authorised if you do not notify the Traffic Commissioner about that vehicle within the month, and pay a prescribed fee. At that time you must also return your licence documents including the vehicle list, with a completed form GV80 listing registration marks.
What do I do if I want to use more vehicles than I am authorised to use?
8. If the extra vehicles you want to use will:
- result in you exceeding the total number of vehicles authorised on the licence; and/or
- result in you keeping more vehicles at an operating centre than your licence allows,
- this would be a major variation to your licence and you must follow the procedures outlined in paragraphs 10 - 14 below.
How do I change or add an operating centre to my licence?
9. If you want to use a new operating centre either instead of, or in addition to, an operating centre already on your licence, this would be a major variation and you must follow the procedures outlined in paragraphs 10 - 14 below.
What are the procedures for applying for a major variation?
(Excluding change of licence type)
10. You must complete a form GV81 and send it with an application fee to your Traffic Area Office at least 9 weeks before you need the extra vehicles or change of operating centre. Neither additional vehicles nor additional operating centres can be used until the application has been granted and the varied licence issued, unless interim authority has been given. Details of current fee levels can be found in Part 17.
11. As with your original application for a licence, the Traffic Commissioner will publish details of your variation application and you must advertise it in a newspaper circulating in the vicinity of your operating centre - see Part 3. A form for this advertisement is included in the GV81.
12. Your application to vary will be open to objections and representations in the same way that your original application was.
13. Applications for the major variations mentioned in paragraphs 8 and 9 may attract two fees. An application charge, to be paid when the application is made, and if appropriate, a vehicle fee for any extra vehicles which you want specified on your licence once the variation has been granted.
14. If you are applying for extra vehicles you will be issued with identity disc(s) only after appropriate fees have been paid. (If no vehicle fee is paid the variation will cease to have effect.)
How do I change the type of licence?
15. To change the licence you hold from, for example, restricted to standard national, or from standard national to standard international, you must apply to the Traffic Commissioner on form GV80A at least 9 weeks before you require the change in type. Proof of professional competence, good repute and financial standing will have to be provided if you want to change to a standard national or standard international licence. A Traffic Commissioner must publish applications to upgrade licences eg those from restricted to standard national and your application will be open to objection by statutory objectors.
16. You do not have to advertise these applications, but they are major variations to your licence. If granted you will not be charged a fee but all your licence documents and vehicle discs have to be returned so that your documents can be amended. The change in licence type does not take effect until the application has been granted and the varied licence issued, unless interim authority has been given.
Is there a right of appeal if my variation application is refused?
17. If your application to vary your licence is refused, you have a right to appeal - see Part 15.
What if I need to use my extra vehicles and/or new operating centre very urgently?
18. Write to the Traffic Area Office giving reasons why you need urgent authorisation for extra vehicles and/or a new operating centre. The Traffic Commissioner may give an interim direction which will allow you to operate in the way you have applied for, while your application to vary your licence is being considered.
19. A fee will be charged to cover grant and the vehicle element if the interim direction is given.
20. The issue of an interim direction will not guarantee that your variation application will be granted and until you get a firm decision on it you would be unwise to make any commitments in anticipation.
What do I do if there are changes in the business?
21. Licences are not transferable. If changes are made in a business which affect, in law, the identity of that business, a new licence must be applied for using form GV79.
The Traffic Commissioner must be told in writing:
- of any change in the control of the business - for example, if someone new is taken on as a partner or director, or if the business is converted to a limited company (a new business must apply for its own licence);
- of any change in the correspondence address of the business (this must be notified within 28 days);
- of any change in the name of the business;
- of any change affecting professionally competent partners or nominated transport managers (including any re-organisation that affects their control of vehicles). Notifications should be made on form GV80A enclosing the professional competence certificates for any new Transport Manager;
- if the licence holder, or any director or partner, is declared bankrupt; and
- if the company goes into liquidation; an administration order is made; or a receiver/manager is appointed.
22. In the case of a standard licence, the Traffic Commissioner must also be told in writing if the licence holder, or any professionally competent partner or nominated transport manager dies, leaves the business, has experienced circumstances which may affect his/her good repute, or can no longer carry out his/her duties effectively (due to physical disability or mental disorder).
23. The Traffic Commissioner may require you to notify him of other details affecting the operation of your vehicles. Details of these requirements will form part of your licence documentation.
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Holding companies and subsidiaries
How are holding companies and subsidiaries treated?
1. The brief notes below do not cover every case - if you have any special problems that are not covered, you should seek further advice; for example, consult a trade association or other professional adviser.
2. A holding company can include in its application for an operator's licence the vehicles of any named subsidiary of which it owns more than 50%. If a licence is granted in the name of a holding company and that company later acquires a subsidiary, the subsidiary's vehicles can be included on the holding company's licence, provided they are in the same Traffic Area.
3. Adding these vehicles may involve a change in the holding company's licence for which an application will have to be made to the Traffic Commissioner on form GV81 - see Part 11.
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Can a licence be withdrawn or suspended?
1. Yes. The Traffic Commissioner must revoke a Standard licence if the holder no longer fulfils the requirements of good repute, financial standing or professional competence (see Parts 4 and 6).
2. He must revoke a Restricted licence if the holder has 2 convictions within 5 years for using a goods vehicle on a Restricted licence for carrying goods for hire or reward.
3. He may revoke, suspend or limit any type of licence if:
- the licence holder has broken any conditions attached to the licence;
- there have been any prohibitions on the use of authorised vehicles because they are unroadworthy or overloaded;
- the licence holder is convicted of certain offences - see Part 7;
- any of the statements made in the licence application prove to be false;
- the licence holder has not kept any undertaking which he gave when he applied for the licence, or which he gave some time later during the currency of the licence, and which appears on the licence documentation;
- the licence holder has been made bankrupt or (if the holder is a company) has gone into liquidation;
- since the licence was issued or varied there has been a material change in any of the circumstances of the licence holder relevant to the issue or variation of the licence; or
- the licence holder has used a place not listed on the licence as an operating centre.
4. A vehicle on a licence which has been suspended or limited can be prohibited from being used by another operator for a period of up to 6 months.
5. In serious cases, where the Traffic Commissioner revokes an operator's licence for disciplinary reasons, he may disqualify a person, partner or director of a company from holding an operator's licence in his or any other Traffic Area. If the disqualification applies to another Traffic Area in which the disqualified person holds a licence, that licence will automatically be suspended from the date of the disqualification order.
Does the Traffic Commissioner's decision take effect immediately?
6. If the Traffic Commissioner suspends or revokes your licence, he may in some circumstances grant a stay to allow it to continue until an appeal is heard, so that you can still operate your business in the meantime.
7. You should first apply to the Traffic Commissioner if you want a stay. If he refuses to grant one, you may then apply to the Transport Tribunal - see Part 15 for address.
8. If the Traffic Commissioner proposes to take disciplinary action, he must first hold an inquiry if this is requested by the licence holder or by the person against whom the disciplinary action is to be taken. As livelihoods may be at stake, it is important that a proper case is presented to the Traffic Commissioner, so the use of a lawyer or other professional adviser may be advisable.
Is there any right of appeal against the disciplinary decisions taken by the Traffic Commissioner?
9. Yes. The licence holder has a right of appeal to the Transport Tribunal.
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What happens at a public inquiry?
1. It is up to the Traffic Commissioner concerned to decide how to run the inquiry, but the Traffic Commissioner must give the applicant, the objectors and the representors an opportunity to present their cases. The procedure will be explained at the start of the inquiry, but it will be informal. The Traffic Commissioner, after hearing from the applicant, objectors and representors will make his decision.
2. Evidence. Anyone putting forward facts at the inquiry must be able to prove them to be true. Often the best way to do this is to get someone who has first hand knowledge to appear and state those facts. Anyone who gives evidence in this way (whether they are the applicant, an objector, a representor, or a witness for any of these people) can then be asked questions by the other parties and by the Traffic Commissioner. Any evidence which is not relevant to the case will not be considered.
3. Documents. If you are going to present documents or photographs at the inquiry, try to bring copies. This will help to avoid taking up a lot of time passing them round.
4. A typical sequence of events might be as follows:
- Before the inquiry begins, the Inquiry Clerk will make a note of all the people who wish to speak (so be sure to report to the Clerk as soon as you arrive at the inquiry).
- The Traffic Commissioner will then enter. The Inquiry Clerk will announce the case by giving the name and address of the applicant, brief details of the application (ie the type of licence applied for, the number of vehicles involved) and the names of anyone who will be representing the applicant or giving evidence on his/her behalf.
- The Clerk will also name the objectors and representors present, and anyone representing them.
5. The Inquiry might then proceed in the following way. Firstly, the Traffic Commissioner would deal with preliminary matters, such as whether objections or representations are valid and should be heard.
6. Next, the applicant (or his/her representative) would be invited to outline the application and would in turn be asked questions about it.
7. The Traffic Commissioner would then invite the objectors, the representors, or people appearing on their behalf to present their cases in general terms.
8. The Traffic Commissioner would then call the objectors, representors and the applicant (usually in that order) or their representatives to present their cases in detail. The points they make may in turn be questioned by any other of the parties and by the Traffic Commissioner.
9. During the proceedings, the Traffic Commissioner might ask the applicant about the effect that conditions imposed in the licence might have on the business.
10. The Traffic Commissioner would then invite the objectors, representors and the applicant to sum up the cases they have presented. No new factors can be introduced at this stage.
11. Finally, the Traffic Commissioner would consider all the evidence presented at the inquiry and either announce the decision straightaway, or give it in writing at a later date.
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Appeals to the Transport Tribunal
Can an appeal be made against the Traffic Commissioner's decision on a licence application or variation?
Yes. Whatever the decision of the Traffic Commissioner, an appeal can be made by the applicant, or a statutory objector (not representor) who objected to the licence application or variation.
Can representors become parties to appeals?
Yes. Although people who make representations do not have a right to initiate an appeal they may apply to the Transport Tribunal to become parties to an appeal if one is made by an objector or applicant.
Can an appeal be made against a disciplinary decision of the Traffic Commissioner?
Yes. A licence holder can appeal against a disciplinary decision taken by the Traffic Commissioner.
Can an appeal be made against the Traffic Commissioner's review of an operating centre?
As regards the review of operating centres, there is a right of appeal conferred only on the licence-holder and only where he is affected by added or varied conditions, or the removal of an operating centre. Statutory objectors and representors do not have any rights of appeal, either against the decision of a Traffic Commissioner not to carry out a review, or against whatever decision a Traffic Commissioner makes if he does carry out a review.
Are there any other circumstances when an appeal can be made?
Yes. There are rights of appeal about decisions if the required procedures have not been followed.
- If there has been a procedural irregularity in the consideration of an application, the Traffic Commissioner has the power to review his decision. That could result in it being set aside and a different decision being made.
- Any person who applies for a review of a Traffic Commissioner's decision on the grounds of some procedural irregularity will have a right of appeal to the Transport Tribunal if the request is turned down.
- Where a review is carried out by the Traffic Commissioner because of a procedural irregularity and this results in a different decision being made, the normal appeal rights, of applicants and objectors, will apply and will relate to the new decision rather than the original.
Where do I send my appeal?
Appeals should be made to the Transport Tribunal at the following address:
48-49 Chancery Lane,
Tel: 020 7947 7493
When can an appeal be made?
Written notice of appeal must be received by the Transport Tribunal not later than 28 days after the date of notification in writing of the Traffic Commissioner's decision. If you are making an appeal, you may present your own case or be represented at the hearing by, for example, a lawyer. The Transport Tribunal normally gives its decision at the hearing and later confirms it in writing, giving reasons. You may be able to operate while your appeal is being heard.
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Summary of the guide to maintaining roadworthiness
(See Part 4 of this guide - what are the maintenance requirements?)
1. A daily walkround check must be undertaken by a responsible person before a vehicle is used.
2. First-use inspections are essential for operators who lease, hire or borrow vehicles, including trailers, from other people. Inspections where vehicles and trailers have been off the road for some time are essential.
3. Drivers must be able to report promptly any defects or symptoms of defects that could adversely affect the safe operation of vehicles. Reports must be made in writing and provision should be made to record details of any rectification work done.
4. Drivers' defect reports which record any faults must be kept for at least 15 months.
5. Operators must ensure that checks are made regularly of items which affect roadworthiness.
6. Safety inspections must include those items covered by the appropriate Department of Transport annual test.
7. Safety inspections should be pre-planned preferably using a time based programme.
8. The system of safety inspections must be regularly monitored particularly in the early stages.
9. Any remedial work carried out arising from safety inspections must be the subject of a written record.
10. The safety inspection report must include:
- vehicle details
- a list of all items to be inspected
- when and by whom the inspection is carried out
- the result of the inspection
- details of any rectification work
- a declaration that defects have been rectified satisfactorily.
11. On some types of vehicle and operations, intermediate safety checks may be necessary.
12. Records of safety inspections must be kept for at least 15 months.
13. Staff carrying out safety inspections must be competent to assess the significance of defects. Assistance must be available to operate the vehicle controls as necessary.
14. There must be a system to ensure that unroadworthy vehicles are removed from service.
15. Operators who undertake their own safety inspections must have adequate facilities and tools available. They must be appropriate to the size of fleet and type of vehicle operated.
16. Operators should have access to a means of measuring brake efficiency and setting headlamp aim and measuring exhaust emissions.
17. An operator is responsible for the condition of vehicles (which includes trailers) inspected and/or maintained for him by agents, contractors or hire companies.
18. Operators who contract out their safety inspections must draw up, and have approved, a formal written contract with an inspection agency or garage. Such operators should have a means of regularly monitoring the quality of work produced for them.
19. The dates when safety inspections are due must be the subject of forward planning.
20. A maintenance planner or wall chart should be used to identify dates at least 6 months before safety inspections are due.
21. Any system of maintaining the roadworthiness of vehicles should be effectively and continually monitored.
22. Any change by licensed operators to arrangements for safety inspections must be notified to the relevant Traffic Area Office without delay.
23. Drivers must be given clear written instructions about their responsibilities.
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Fees and refunds
Part A - Fees and charges
Application fee for a new application (GV79) or a major variation (publishable) application (GV81)
1. This fee is to cover the cost of processing an application and must be sent in full so as to be received with the application. It is non-refundable. (No fee is payable for an application purely to upgrade a licence eg from a restricted licence type to standard national).
The fee is £168
Fee payable for issue of a new licence
2. This fee is payable once only and is charged if an application for a licence is granted. It is set to cover the costs of keeping the licence on the system, and monitoring it, once it is issued and for carrying out transactions, during a five year period, which are not individually charged for. It is non-refundable and payable in full after the grant of the application.
The fee is £263
Charge for the continuation in force of an existing licence
3. This fee is payable every 5 years. The first payment will be due on the fifth anniversary of the month ending before the month of issue. The date of issue is the month in which the documents were issued. The fee is set to cover the costs of keeping the licence on the system, and monitoring it for a further five year term and for carrying out transactions, during the five year period, which are not individually charged for. It is non-refundable.
The fee is £263
Fees for interim licences or directions
4. There is a fee for the issue of an interim licence or direction and for each vehicle specified on the interim.
5. Both are non-refundable and payable after the decision to grant the interim. There are no charges for directions purely to upgrade (eg from restricted licence type to standard national).
The fees are:
- For the issue of an interim licence or direction - £44
- For each vehicle specified - £10 per vehicle
6. Vehicle fees are charged for each vehicle specified by registration mark on a licence. When an application is first granted or before it is continued in force, the operator can elect to pay the vehicle fees 5 yearly in advance, or on an annual basis. Vehicles subsequently added to a licence, over those already paid for, will have the fees due calculated by quarter years remaining on the licence using either the 5 yearly or annual cycle as appropriate.
7. If a vehicle is removed from a licence and not replaced a "credit" is held against it - again for remaining periods of a 5 year or annual term. The fee for yearly payers is slightly more than for 5 yearly payers to cover the additional costs involved. Vehicle fees generally go towards the costs of enforcement.
8. Vehicle fees are payable after the grant of an application for a new licence or variation, or at the same time as the continuation fee. Yearly payments are due each year on the anniversary of the end of the month preceding the month in which the licence was issued.
9. Under certain circumstances the vehicle fee is refundable. The yearly vehicle fee is non-refundable.
5 yearly payers - refundable in certain circumstances
10. For a full 5 year period, for each vehicle specified the fee is calculated by multiplying the current vehicle fee per quarter year x number of vehicles x number of quarter years (20).
11. During any five year period, for vehicles added the fee is calculated by multiplying the current vehicle fee per quarter year x number of vehicles added x number of quarters before next 5 yearly fees are due.
The fee is £145 per vehicle
For any extra vehicles added during the 5 year period - £7.25 per vehicle per quarter year
Yearly payers - non-refundable
12. For full years, for each vehicle specified the fee is calculated by multiplying the current yearly vehicle fee per quarter x 4 quarter years. Part years for added vehicles are calculated reducing the number of quarters as appropriate. Fees for years following the first one will be calculated at the rate in force when payment is due.
The fee is £36 per vehicle
For any extra vehicles added - £9.00 per vehicle per quarter year
13. Payment should preferably be made by cheque payable to "Vehicle and Operator Services Agency" and sent with the relevant application form or fee request to your Traffic Area Office. Do not send cash through the post.
Part B - Refunds of vehicle fees
14. No refunds are payable to yearly fee payers.
15. No refunds are payable in connection with interim licences or directions.
16. Refunds are payable when a licence is surrendered, revoked or otherwise terminated. They are also payable when a licence is curtailed or suspended, for relevant periods and numbers of vehicles, or when an operator voluntarily reduces the total authorisation of a licence in association with a reduction of specified vehicles.
17. Refunds are payable only for full years either of suspension etc or remaining periods of a fee period.
18. Operators claiming refunds for non-disciplinary reasons during the life of a licence must meet certain criteria ie
a written application for refund must be made
an application to reduce (GV81) total vehicle numbers must be made and granted, and
the number of specified vehicles (or credits) on licence must be reduced by 10 or more, or by at least 20% and the authorised number by at least the same amount.
For further advice contact your Traffic Area Office.
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Advice on community authorisations
(Standard International operator licences only)
Extra authorisation required for hauliers carrying out international journeys within the European Community
1. From 1 January 1993 all hauliers carrying goods for hire or reward in, or through European Community Countries, have been issued with, and require a Community Authorisation in addition to a Standard International operator's licence. This authorisation replaces the need for community permits, bilateral permits between member states and permits for transit traffic through EU to and from non-member countries.
2. Community Authorisations are issued automatically, free of charge, to all hauliers who are granted a Standard International operator's licence and are for use by that operator only. The issuing authority is the Traffic Commissioner for each area who has issued an international licence to an operator. The authorisation documents are sent out by the Traffic Area Offices with the international licence documents. The Community Authorisation documents comprise (for each licence):
- One community authorisation - this must be kept in the operator's main office so that it can be inspected by Enforcement Authorities and
- Certified copies of the authorisation - an operator can ask to have certified copies equal to the number of motor vehicles authorised by the Standard International operator's licence.
3. The certified copies are not vehicle specific. An operator needs to ensure that one certified copy of the authorisation is kept with each motor vehicle at all times while it is being operated on any international journey. It is an offence not to do so and enforcement agencies throughout the European Community will expect drivers to be able to produce the document at any time during an international road haulage journey.
4. Validity: Community Authorisations are issued for five year periods the first period starting on the date of first issue of the International Goods Vehicle Operator's Licence. In any circumstances where a Traffic Commissioner is considering revocation of an international licence he will also consider withdrawal of the Community Authorisation.
5. The issuing Traffic Area Office should be notified if any Community Authorisation documents become lost, damaged or stolen and the documents must be returned when a licence is surrendered, or otherwise terminates.
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Vehicles which do not need to be on an operator's licence or the use of which do not require an operator's licence
The following list reflects the substance of the main exemptions from operator licensing and is a summary only. Details of most of them can be found in Schedule 3 to the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Regulations 1995.
- vehicles first used before 1977 which have an unladen weight not exceeding 1525kg and for which the maximum gross plated weight is between 3500 kgs and 3556.21 kgs (3.5 tons)
- motor vehicles & their trailers using public roads for less than 9.654 kms (6 miles) a week, whilst moving between private premises
- vehicles being used under a trade licence
- vehicles constructed, or adapted, primarily for carrying passengers & their effects while being used for that purpose, and any trailer drawn
- vehicles used by, or under the control of, Her Majesty's United Kingdom forces and visiting forces vehicles
- vehicles being used by local authorities for Civil Defence purposes, or to carry out their functions in respect of certain enactments
- vehicles being used for police, fire or ambulance purposes
- fire-fighting & rescue vehicles used in mines
- RNLI & Coastguard vehicles when used for transporting lifeboats, appliances or crew
- vehicles being held ready for use in emergencies by water, electricity, gas & telephone undertakings
- tractors, including agricultural tractors, used in certain circumstances
- vehicles being used to carry goods within aerodromes
- vehicles being used for funerals
- uncompleted vehicles on test or trial
- vehicles being used for or in connection with (or on their way to) snow clearing or distribution of salt, grit etc
- vehicles on their way to a Department of Transport examination being presented laden at the request of an examiner
- electric and steam propelled vehicles
- recovery vehicles
- vehicles with fitted equipment eg machines, appliances, where the only other goods (or burden) carried are required for use in connection with the fitted equipment
- tower wagons & trailers which are carrying goods related to the work of the tower wagons
- dual purpose vehicles (eg Land Rovers) & their trailers
- trailers whose primary purpose is not to carry goods but do so incidentally in connection with construction, maintenance or repair of roads
- road rollers & trailers
- showmen's goods vehicles & trailers
- crown vehicles
- vehicles being used for international haulage by operators established in other EU Member States
- vehicles being used for international haulage by operators established in Northern Ireland
- vehicles being used under the provisions of the Goods Vehicles (Operators Licences) (Temporary Use in Great Britain) Regulations 1980. These Regulations include provision for the use in Great Britain of Northern Ireland Vehicles, which have an operating centre in Northern Ireland, provided that certain conditions are met. Own account and hire and reward operations are covered.
If you have any queries regarding your own vehicle, please contact your local Traffic Area Offices
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How do I find the plated weight of a vehicle?
1. The gross plated weight is the total permitted weight of a loaded vehicle.
2. If you want to confirm the permitted weight look on the Department of Transport plate or the manufacturer's plate if there is no Department plate.
3. Department of Transport plates are fitted on motor vehicles after first registration and on trailers after they have undergone a Department of Transport annual test.
4. The plates are usually found:
- on motor vehicles - inside the cab in a conspicuous position
- on trailers - on the nearside, often on the headboard.
What happens if a vehicle is not fitted with a plate?
5. If you do not know the unladen weight, you should take the unladen vehicle to a weighbridge. Your nearest Vehicle Inspectorate heavy goods vehicle testing station will be able to advise you of weighbridges near you.
How do these requirements affect "artics" or vehicles with drawbar trailers?
6. For an articulated vehicle ie tractive unit with a semi-trailer, you need a licence if:
- the unladen weight of the tractive unit, plus the gross plated weight of the semi-trailer is more than 3,500 kgs, or
- in a case where the semi-trailer is not plated, the combined unladen weight is more than 1525kg.
7. For a motor vehicle with draw-bar trailer, you need a licence if:
- in the case where both the motor vehicle and the trailer(s) are plated, the total of their gross plated weights is more than 3500 kgs, or
- in any other case, the total unladen weight is more than 1525kg.
NB A small trailer of not more than 1020kg unladen weight can be ignored for the purposes of adding up total gross weights or unladen weights for drawbar outfits.
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Operators Licences FAQ
Q. Do I need an Operator's Licence if I only carry my own goods?
A. Yes - a restricted licence is required to carry your own goods.
See guide paragraphs 7&8.
Q. How do I apply for an Operator's Licence?
A. An application form needs to be completed and sent to the TAO which covers the place where the vehicle(s) will be parked when not in use. Supporting documentation showing financial status and maintenance arrangements needs to be provided and evidence of professional competence will also be required for Standard licences. An advert in a newspaper local to the place where the vehicles will be parked when not in use is also required.
See guide paragraphs 3-5 for details of the advertising process.
Q. How long does an Operator's Licence last?
A. Licences are now "for life" and only expire if surrendered by the operator or revoked by the Traffic Commissioner. They do, however, have to be continued every five years.
See guide paragraph 12
Q. What is an "Operating Centre"?
A. An operating centre is the place where the vehicles/trailers will normally be kept when not in use and it should provide off street parking for the total number of vehicles/trailers required.
Q. Can anyone object to my application for an Operator's Licence?
A. Yes. A Statutory body e.g. local authority, police, trade association, trade union etc can object to an application for an operator's licence if they have concerns about repute, finance or maintenance arrangements. Statutory objectors and local residents or landowners can raise objections over the suitability of the operating centre on environmental grounds.
Q. I want to complain about an operator, what should I do?
A. Send your concern in writing to the relevant Traffic Area Office. If the operator is in breach of his undertakings or any condition in force on his operator's licence, the Traffic Commissioner can consider immediate action against the licence. If the complaint is not in connection with a breach or undertakings or conditions, the Traffic Commissioner cannot consider it until the licence is due for review (which is at five yearly intervals from the date the licence was first granted). The complaint would then be held on file until the review date.
Q. Can I use a friend's Operator's Licence?
A. No. A licence is not transferable and can only be used by the person/body to which it was issued.
Q. Can I use a friend's vehicle on my Operator's Licence?
A. It depends on whether you have a 'margin' on your licence. If you do and use a vehicle in this way you are the user of, and are responsible for, the vehicle, not the owner/keeper.
See guide paragraphs 6&7.
THE ORGANISATION OF HORSEBOX & TRAILER OWNERS
Whitehill Farm, Hamstead Marshall, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 0HP
Tel: 01488 657651 Fax: 01488 657652