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More than 20,000 vans will be pulled into scope of operator licensing under new proposals

The Department for Transport has estimated that more than 20,000 vans will come into scope of operator licensing when the changes come into force in May 2022.

The most significant change to the operator licensing system is that vehicles over 2.5 tonnes which cross international borders operating on a hire and reward basis will come into scope and require a standard international operator licence.

More than half of the vehicles coming into scope (11,700) will be in Northern Ireland, owing to the large number of vans that cross the land border to the Republic of Ireland. The remaining 9,000 are registered in Great Britain, reflecting the fact that fewer vans from GB cross over to the EU on a hire and reward basis.

Given the large number of vans affected in Northern Ireland, DfT will be working with the Department for Infrastructure in the province, to ensure a common UK approach.

James Firth, Head of Road Freight Regulation Policy, Logistics UK, said: “While these changes to operator licensing only apply to very specific, sub-set of operators, they are nonetheless significant, and will disproportionately affect our members in Northern Ireland.”

Views on the changes to operator licensing have been invited by the Department for Transport (DfT). The informal consultation also explores some aspects of establishment for all operator licences and changes to requirements for posting of workers in the EU.

“It is reassuring to see that DfT will try to apply these changes while keeping the administrative burden on van operators as light as it possibly can,” Firth said, “There is a lot in the GB operating licensing system which is in addition to what Europe requires. The Call for Evidence suggests that wherever possible they will not apply GB requirements to vans, especially not to operators that only manage vans.”

For example, it looks like there will not be a requirement to identify operating centres, currently a key aspect of the operator licensing system.

“There is quite a strong culture in the van sector of drivers taking their vehicle at the end of the day and parking it at home,” Firth said, “Under full GB operator licensing laws, that would not be possible. So doing away with the requirement to identify an operating centre would be a welcome break with operator licensing tradition.”

DfT is also seeking to keep vans free of licensing obligations that Logistics UK would like removed from operator licensing anyway, such as O licence discs and operating centre adverts.

“We will consult with Logistics UK members at next week’s Road Council, to ensure they are fully informed on this issue, before we submit evidence to DfT before 24 July,” Firth said.


Published On: 08/07/2021 16:00:36


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