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Northern Ireland Restricted Operator Licensing


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Published Date: 30th March 2012

Northern Ireland Restricted Operators Licence - Full explanation and details.


Who is this article for?

This article is aimed at business owners who use vehicles with a plated weight of above 3.5 tonnes and reside in Northern Ireland.

Below you will find an explanation of the new Restricted Operator Licensing regulations that will be administered and enforced by the TRU (Transport Regulation Unit) and the DVA (Driver Vehicle Agency) of the DOE (Department of the Environment) of Northern Ireland. The legislation is due to come into force on the 28th September 2012 and all applications for an initial operator licence permit must be submitted before this date.

This article aims to provide owners of vehicles above 3.5 tonnes plated weight with clarification of their legal position as a vehicle operator and make sure you are best informed as to your legal standing under the new legislation.


Does this apply to me?

If your business is operating vehicles that have a plated weight of above 3.5 tonnes then you are likely to need an operator licence (unless you come under very specific exemptions). If you only carry your own goods, tools or materials then under the new legislation you would require a Restricted Operators Licence.

What are the types of Operator Licence?

There are three types of Goods Vehicle Operator Licence:-
  • Restricted
  • Enables you to transport your own goods, tools or materials only, within and outside of the UK.

  • Standard National
  • Enables you to transport your own and your customerís goods, tools or materials, within the UK only.

  • Standard International
  • Enables you to transport your own and your customerís goods tools or materials, within and outside of the UK.

When does this legislation come into force?

Very soon, the time to act and get your licence to operate vehicles is now. The TRU is writing to all owners of vehicles above 3.5 tonnes plated weight to inform them that they must apply for a permit (operators licence) before the deadline in the letter. Registered owners of vehicles above 3.5 tonnes should receive a letter from the TRU sometime in June and all applications for an initial operators licence permit must be submitted before the 28th of September 2012.


What is the difference between the initial permit and a licence?

The initial application period (until the 28th September 2012) is to allow all existing vehicle owners to register as operators (if needed) through a cut down application process, receive an operator licence permit and become a licensed vehicle operator with no delay or burden to their business and operations.

After this initial period, all vehicle owners will be subject to the full application process before they can become operator licence holders, which is a much more intensive and time consuming process.


What will happen if I donít apply for a permit but I should have one?

If you fail to apply during this initial period, you will have to submit to the full, much more rigorous application process and provide much more information and supporting business documents to support your application. Also, the application can take much longer to be granted as various background checks will be done on the applicant. Without an operators licence permit, you will not be able to operate your vehicles on the public roads legally and the DVA (who will be enforcing operator licensing at the roadside) will have the power to, issue fines, impound your vehicles and take other legal action.


How do I apply for a permit?

The TRU (Transport Regulation Unit) should be writing to all registered owners of vehicles of above 3.5 tonnes from the 1st of June with details of how to apply for a permit. You will have to complete form GV(NI)R: Application for a ĎRestrictedí Licence which asks for details of:-
  • Your business
  • Your vehicles
  • Vehicle maintenance arrangements
The form also requires operators to agree that they will adhere to certain undertakings as a condition of the licence (see below for more information).

And to declare that the business has the required financial standing (continuous access to a certain amount of funds to ensure the vehicles listed on the licence are maintained properly).


What are Undertakings?

Undertakings are conditions that an operator agrees to in order to have their operators licence.

The standard set of undertakings on an operators licence relate to:-
  • Tachograph Rules
  • Vehicle Overloading
  • Speeding
  • Vehicle and Trailer Maintenance
  • Vehicle Defect Reporting
  • Vehicle Record Keeping
  • Operating Centres
The purpose of undertakings is to ensure that if an operator is acting in breach of legislation (for example, by not keeping tachograph data as required by law), then the TRU has recourse to take action and possibly limit or revoke the operators licence.

Not breaking any of the undertakings on a licence is the most important thing an operator can do to ensure they donít put their operator licence and therefore their business at risk.


What are the penalties for operating without a licence?

The DVA (Driver and Vehicle Agency) will be enforcing operator licensing at the roadside, initially they may take a soft approach with the new legislation but do have the powers to impound non compliant vehicles at the roadside, issue fines of up to £5000 and take other legal action against a non-compliant operator.


Who are OLMC?

OLMC is an independent Transport Consultancy that specialises in Vehicle Operator Licensing. We are market leaders in the UK and offer services and consultancy to customers from all business sectors.

We have an excellent track record of providing clients with products and services, click here to see our genuine customer testimonials.


How can OLMC Help?

We help vehicle operators acheive compliance with their undertakings by providing the systems and processes that an operator needs to have in place. We also help operators apply for and manage their operator licence. Our services include:-
  • Operator licence applications
  • Public inquiry representation
  • Tachograph analysis and management
  • VOSA compliance audits
  • Independent vehicle inspections
  • Driver CPC training courses
  • Operator licence compliance training
  • Vehicle defect management
Please click here for a full list of our services.

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