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How to apply for an Operator’s Licence

If you or your business is looking to use vehicles with a gross plated weight which exceeds 3.5 tonnes then you need a Goods Vehicle Operator’s Licence.

The operator licensing scheme is administered by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) on behalf of the Traffic Commissioners.

What type of licence do I need?

If you are simply going to use the vehicles to carry your own goods then you should apply for a Restricted Licence. 

If you intend to carry other people’s goods for hire or reward then you will need a Standard National or Standard International Licence depending on whether the vehicles are likely to leave the UK at any time.

What is the application procedure?

You must complete a GV79 form and send it to the Traffic Commissioner.

How long will it take?

You should allow at least 9 weeks for the application to be processed and a licence granted. If you need a licence urgently you can apply for an interim licence until you get a full one but you must make a full application before you apply for an interim.

What are the fees?

There are fees to pay at the following stages:  

  • On making the application (current fee £257)
  • On issue of the licence (£401)
  • Interim licence (if needed) (£68)

You will then have to pay a continuation fee (£401) every 5 years to keep your licence active. If at any time you want to make a “major change” (egg add vehicles or an operating centre) to the licence then there will be a fee to pay (£257).

What is an Operating Centre?

Your operating centre is where your vehicles are normally kept when not in use. You’ll need one which is large enough, has safe access and is in an environmentally acceptable location.

You must advertise your application for an operator’s licence in a local newspaper and include details of the proposed operating centre so that local residents and interested parties have the opportunity to object or make representations.

What are the vehicle maintenance requirements?

You will be under an obligation to keep your vehicles safe and in good condition at all times. You can either maintain the vehicles yourself in-house or use an external maintenance provider (in which case you need to provide a copy of the maintenance contract). However, even if you use an external maintenance contractor you are responsible for the condition of the vehicles and trailers at all times.

What happens if I don’t stick to the rules?

The DVSA carry out roadside checks and may visit your operating centre to carry out fleet checks and / or examine your drivers’ hours records. They have powers to impose Prohibition Notices on un roadworthy or overloaded vehicles and will check that your drivers are within the permitted drivers’ hours regulations.

If you have a poor record of DVSA checks the Traffic Commissioner may hold a Public Inquiry at which your Operator’s Licence could be suspended, curtailed or even revoked. 

Advice / assistance

If you need any advice or assistance with an application for an Operator’s Licence or any aspect of the Operator Licensing system please get in contact with David Chant at Langleys tel: 01904 683095

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