O-licence: Fleets operating LGVs in Europe urged to apply now

Row of vans

UK fleets operating light goods vehicles (LGVs) internationally, including to the Republic of Ireland, are being reminded that they will fall under operator licensing rules for the first time from May 21.

The rule change means that operators or users of vans and other light goods vehicles more than 2.5 tonnes and up to 3.5 tonnes that transport goods for hire and reward from the UK into, or through the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, will need to obtain an International Operators’ Licence. 

Introduced as part of the post-Brexit EU trade deal, the new rules apply to vans or other LGVs, vans towing trailers, cars towing trailers.

One of the many conditions of the licence is the appointment of a dedicated transport manager, with a valid Transport Manager Certificate of Professional Competence (TM CPC) qualification.

The Government has said some operators may be able to obtain a temporary exemption from the TM CPC requirement if they have at least 10 years’ experience of managing fleets of vehicles.

You can apply for your operator licence now on GOV.UK

Another condition is for the company to demonstrate financial standing to run the business with a minimum of £1,600 available for the first vehicle and an extra £800 per additional vehicle.

As with HGV operators, assets must also be kept safe and in good condition. All safety inspection and maintenance records undertaken must also be retained for a minimum of 15 months.

TruTac believes operators should be prepared for the new regulations, regardless of their status. “This piece of legislation comes at a particularly testing time for transport operators – irrespective of the size or weight of their vehicles – and it’s the type of thing that could easily be misunderstood or overlooked completely,” said TruTac managing director, Jemma James. 

“Those with vehicles under 3.5 tonnes will be used to a fairly straightforward approach to driver and vehicle compliance, but these new rules introduce an extra layer of complexity, especially for anyone with vans just over the 2.5 tonne mark or for those who tow trailers or semi-trailers.”

Find out about the new rules

Don’t forget to make posting declarations for journeys to the EU

Don't forget that if you’re transporting goods between two points in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway for commercial purposes, (known as cabotage or cross trade) from February 2, 2022, you now must make a “posting declaration”, which means registering the operator, driver, driver employment details, dates of travel, and the vehicle used.

This could be using HGVs, vans or other light goods vehicles of any size, or cars, whether or not you’re towing a trailer. It will apply if you’re moving the goods for hire or reward, or for your own business’ use.

The information you need to sign up and start declaring is available on GOV.UK

Or you can access the EU Portal and FAQs now. 

Fleets have been previously warned that the new rules for vans travelling abroad could provide the “stepping-stone” to tougher regulations for all operators of light commercial vehicle (LCV) fleets. 

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