Operating Light Goods Vehicles in the EU – Rule Changes

By CET Solicitor Ritesh Chauhan

From NEXT WEEK (the 21st of May 2022), you will need a standard international goods vehicle operator license to transport goods for hire or reward in the EU, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

It is less than a week until the new rules come into effect. If you want to continue operating in the EU without interruption from the 21st of May 2022, you will need to apply for an interim licence on the government website using the following link: Apply for a vehicle operator licence - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Who does it apply to?

The Department for Transport (Dft), published an article, (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/transport-goods-in-and-out-of-the-uk-using-vans-or-car-and-trailers-from-21-may-2022), on their website on the 26th of August 2021, which outlines that the new rules will only apply to you if you are based in England, Scotland or Wales and use vehicles between 2.5 and 3.5 tons maximum gross vehicle which are:

·       vans or other light goods vehicles (sometimes called ‘light commercial vehicles’)

·       vans towing trailers

·       cars towing trailers

You will not need a goods vehicle operator licence if you only use your vehicles in the UK or you are transporting goods not for ‘hire or reward’.

What do you need to do to apply for an Operator’s Licence?

The DfT outlined in the article that you will need to do one of the following:

·       apply for a standard international goods vehicle operator licence for the first time

·       add the vehicles to your standard international goods vehicle operator licence (if you already have one)

·       apply to upgrade your standard national goods vehicle operator licence (if you have one) to a standard international goods vehicle operator licence

·       apply to upgrade your restricted goods vehicle operator licence (if you have one) to a standard international goods vehicle operator licence

The DfT emphasises in the article, you can be fined by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) if you operate without the right licence. You can also be prosecuted in the European countries you drive through.

How much does it cost?

There is no fee to add the vehicles to your licence if you have not reached your vehicle limit.

However, you will need to pay £257 if you need to increase the vehicle limit on your operator’s licence. If the licence is granted, you must pay £401 for the licence itself.

Financial Standing

You need to be able to prove that you have access to a set amount of finance to run your business (‘financial standing’). The amount depends on how many vehicles you have.

For the first vehicle, you must have £8,000 available, then £4,500 per additional heavy goods vehicle (HGV) in your fleet. For every additional van or car and trailer, you must have financial standing of £800.

Your transport manager will become legally responsible for all the vehicles on your operator’s licence, in addition to the HGVs and trailers already on it.

Transport Manager

You need a transport manager to get a standard international goods vehicle operator licence, which involves employing a Transport Manager. You can either nominate an experienced member of staff to cover the role or appoint a Transport manager. The two options are set out below:

1.     Apply to get an existing member of staff (including yourself) temporarily recognised as a transport manager.

If a member of staff can show that they have at least 10 years of experience in managing fleets of vehicles before the 20th of August 2020 they will be able to apply to have their experience recognised. They can apply (by the 24th of May 2024) for their experience to be recognised as ‘acquired rights’. They will then be treated as having the Transport Manager CPC until the 21st of May 2025, by which time they must pass the transport manager CPC exam.

Once qualified, they must keep up a high-quality professional knowledge of transport industry rules and policies, which can be aided by taking up transport manager refresher courses.

2.     Employ someone with a Transport Manager Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) qualification.

As an operator you can employ the services of either an external or internal Transport Manager who holds the certificate of professional competence. You need to make sure they keep up a high-quality professional knowledge of transport industry rules and policies.

Drivers Duties

Drivers will need to carry a certified copy of their UK Licence for the Community during international journeys, there is no extra fee for this type of Licence as they are provided as part of the application for a standard international operator’s licence.

C E Transport Law has extensive experience in Operator Licencing, if you need any assistance then please call us to discuss further.  

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