What vehicles require an Operating Licence?
You need an operator's licence to carry goods (or burden) connected with any trade or business if you use a motor vehicle on a road with:
q a gross plated weight of more than 3.5 tonnes or
q if it has no gross plated weight, but an un-laden weight of more than 1525kg
An operator's licence is necessary even if you use the vehicle for only a short period of time, even just one day.
The use of vehicle combinations also requires a licence. If you decide to use a vehicle without an operator's licence when you should have one, you risk having the vehicle and its goods impounded by the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA).
Who is the user of a vehicle?
You use a vehicle if you are the driver and are the owner, or the vehicle is in your lawful possession under an agreement for hire, hire purchase, or loan. You also use a vehicle if the driver is your servant or agent.
NB You need an operator’s licence even if you use a vehicle only for a short period, 2 or 3 weeks or even just one day.
Are there any general exceptions?
Yes. You do not need a licence to use certain types of vehicles or to carry out certain functions. If in any doubt about whether or not you need a licence contact Trans Consult or your nearest Traffic Area Offices.
What kind of licence do I need?
An operator’s licence can be issued in one of three formats:
Restricted - To carry your own goods in the course of your trade or business in Great Britain you need a restricted licence. You must not carry goods for other people for hire or reward if you have a restricted licence. If you do, you could be fined and lose your licence.
Standard National - A standard national licence allows you to carry your own goods in Great Britain, and to carry goods for other people for hire or reward in Great Britain. Even if you carry other people’s goods only occasionally, you must have a standard national licence. You can be fined if you use your vehicles for international hire or reward work when your licence covers you for national operations only. However, a standard national licence allows you to haul loaded trailers to or from ports within Great Britain as part of an international journey as long as your motor vehicles do not actually leave Great Britain.
Standard International - A standard international licence allows you to carry your own goods, and goods for other people for hire or reward, both in Great Britain and on international journeys. Operators who are issued with international licences will also receive Community Authorisations which are required for all hire or reward operations in, or through, European Community countries. These have replaced the need for community permits, bilateral permits between member states and permits for transit traffic through the EU but not permits for travel to or through non-EU countries where these are still required.