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Operator Licencing


You will need to apply for, and attain an Operator Licence (or ‘O’ Licence as they are often referred to) if you carry goods in connections with trade or business if your vehicle exceeds the following weight classifications:
  • Gross plated weight of more than 3.5 tonnes
  • 1525kg unladen weight if not plated
  • Trailers over 1020kg unladen weight
The operator licensing system regulates road transport, setting minimum standards for operators and imposing some control over where vehicles are parked when not in operation. If you use a vehicle in connection with trade or business without an operator's licence you are breaking the law and could face a fine and/or impounding of your vehicle.

In the horse industry, if you drive a vehicle (combination of vehicles), falling under the weight categories above, in connection with trade or business then you are required to have an operator's licence.

The licence is applied for and held by the 'user' of the vehicle. By law, the user is determined as:
  • the driver, if they own, are leasing, buying, hiring or borrowing the vehicle
  • in the case of an employed driver, the person who employs or controls the driver
You will need to apply for an Operator’s Licence in every traffic area in which you have an Operating Centre. You will only need one licence per traffic area, regardless of the number of operating centres used in that area.

There are three types of ‘O’ Licence, as follows:
  • Restricted
    This category of licence applies to you if you are carrying goods for business, but these goods are for your own use, i.e. horses you own and transport in connection with your own business.
     
  • Standard National
    This category of licence applies to you if you carry goods for business – for yourself and for others for hire or reward, i.e. if you carry horses owned by others.
     
  • Standard International
    This category of licence applies if you carry goods for business – for yourself and for others for hire or reward here in Great Britain and abroad.
If you fall under the Standard National or International requirements you will also be required to attain a Certificate of National/International (depending on your equestrian business activities) Competence (in road haulage). Professional competence is usually obtained by passing an exam and the award of a Certificate of Professional Competence. Click here for more information on the Certificate of Competence (CPC). This is not a requirement for holders of a restricted operators licence.

Operator licence holders are also required to demonstrate sufficient financial resources to maintain and keep their vehicles operational throughout the life of the licence.

Restricted licence holders must have £3,100 for the first vehicle and an additional £1,700 for each vehicle thereafter.

Standard licence holders must have £8,100 for the first vehicle and £4,500 for each additional vehicle.
The funds do not have to be in the bank, but provision must exist for making the funds available via an overdraft for example.

Licence applicants must also demonstrate their fitness to hold a licence. This is based on good repute. Licence holders must inform the licencing authority of any relevant convictions or fixed penalties they have on application or during the life of the licence.

To apply, please contact VOSA for all the necessary application forms and guidance documents.
www.vosa.gov.uk or telephone 0300 123 9000. 
Last updated: 25/06/2010
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