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New Rules for Vans & Cars with Trailers

Transporting goods in and out of the UK using vans or vans and cars with trailers changes from 21 May 2022.  After this date, if you use a van or a car with a trailer to transport goods as part of a business internationally, and the maximum authorised mass (MAM) exceeds 2.5 tonnes, you will require a standard international goods vehicle operator’s licence and retrain the services of a professionally qualified transport manager. Let’s take a closer look at what these new rules mean for your business.

Will the new rules apply to you?

The new rules will apply to you if you transport goods as part of a business in:

  • the EU
  • Iceland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Norway
  • Switzerland 

Using any of the following vehicles or vehicle and trailer combinations:

  • Vans where the MAM exceeds 2.5t and up to and including 3.5t
  • Vans towing trailers with a gross train weight over 2.5t and up to and including 3.5t
  • Cars towing trailers with a gross train weight over 2.5t and up to and including 3.5t

You will not be affected if you only transport goods wholly within the UK or you do not transport goods as part of a business abroad i.e. you only operate for private purposes.

    Operator Licensing

    There are two possible scenarios. The first is that you will hold a standard international operator’s licence because you already operate large goods vehicles on international journeys, in which case you can just add your vans, cars and trailers to your current licence.

    The second scenario is that you will be new to the world of operator licensing and the new rules mean that you will have a steep learning curve and will need to rapidly implement a number of major changes to your business in order to achieve compliance.  This will involve applying for an operator’s licence, making sure that you have sufficient funds at bank to satisfy the Traffic Commissioner that you can effectively maintain your fleet, have an appropriate maintenance provider that you will need to name on your licence and retaining the services of a professionally qualified transport manager.

    You then need to remember, if you only operate light goods vehicles, vans or cars towing trailers, that you will be entering a very strict compliance regime that is policed by DVSA and presided over by the Traffic Commissioner, so any short-cutting of the system could lead to the loss of your business.

    Vehicle Special Order

    The window for VSO applications closed on 31st December 2018.  Vehicles that were registered prior to the end of 2018 can still be added to current VSO’s, however vehicles registered from 1st January 2019 cannot be added to a VSO and therefore must operate at UK axle and gross vehicle weights.  VSO’s will remain in force until 31st March 2028, or until a vehicle reaches it’s 12 anniversary of first registration, whichever comes first.

    The weight that you can operate at with a VSO depends on the number of axles your vehicle has:

    • Two axles  21,600 kgs
    • Four axles  38,400 kgs
    • Three axles  31,000 kgs
    • Five axles  44,000 kgs

    There is also an uplift of not more than 20% per axle, so your volume will probably be determined by your rear axle weights and not the increased gross vehicle weight i.e. you are likely to exceed your rear axle weights before you reach you maximum gross limit, depending on how much plant over hangs the rear and your general configuration.

    Operator Licensing

    The final piece of the puzzle is the inclusion of volumetric concrete mixers into Operator Licensing from 1st September 2018.  To operate volumetric concrete mixers, you must have an operators licence in place, not just applied for.  The application process typically takes nine weeks under normal circumstances, but can be shortened by applying for an interim licence at the same time as you make the full application.

    So there you have it!.  If you feel bewildered, give us a call on 01543 54 50 50 and we will take the worry out of the process with our fixed fee application service 

    Fixed Fee Services

    Steve Rounds & Associates Limited offer a range of fixed fee application services (based on fleet size).  Call us now on 01543 54 50 50

    Operator Licences

    Need help with you operator licence application, or unsure of which type of licence you need?

    In general terms, you should be able to continue your business under a restricted operators licence, so long as you word your contracts/agreements correctly, otherwise you will need a standard licence and will be required to employ either an internal or external transport manager.


    Contact us now for a quote on 01543 54 50 50

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