Fixed machinery Question?

The Question

I have been trying to get clarification on whether I need to operate some vehicles under an Operators License and have written, faxed and telephoned. I am a Service Provider to the electricity distribution sector and am considering purchasing one or two pole erection units - basically a Daf 55 chassis with a mounted crane, auger and hydraulic take offs. The vehicle itself is used to transport electricity poles and ancillary fittings and erect them in replacement for decayed ones.

Looking at the guidance notes on the Vosa website, there are two sections that stand out to me; the transport of goods for hire and reward - in our work we do not get paid on the transportation of goods but on the act of construction of whatever it is we are replacing. No element of our rates is made up of the fittings ot transportation of them. Secondly, there is a section regarding fitted machinery and its use in relation to the goods or burden being carried which I also think describes our tasks. This would include the crane, auger and in the case of the hydraulic take offs the use of ancillary machinery to install items we have carried,

Please could you get back to me as a matter of urgency because I don't want to go ahead and purchase until I can fully understand what I need to work to?

The DVSA's Answer

I refer to your e – mail of today's date (and this morning's telephone conversation) , concerning the above. Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying.

Schedule 3 to the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Regulations 1995, lists the categories of goods vehicle that are exempt from operator licensing. Schedule 3 (15) (a) prescribes that the following type of vehicle is exempt:

“A vehicle fitted with a machine, appliance, apparatus or other contrivance which is a permanent or essentially permanent fixture, provided that the only goods carried on the vehicle are -

(a) required for use in connection with the machine, appliance, apparatus or contrivance or the running of the vehicle;”

As discussed this morning, this exemption usually applies in cases where a machine, appliance or apparatus (e.g a crane, compressor or generator) has been fixed or bolted on to the vehicle. Any goods carried on such a vehicle must be strictly in connection with the use of such equipment, (i.e. the vehicle should effectively form a moving platform for these permanent or essentially permanent fixtures, and absolutely no goods that are not essential for the equipment to function (e.g. loose tools or other articles) should be carried on the vehicle.

North West Traffic Area Licensing Authority v Post Office [1982] R.T.R. 304
I referred to the case law relating to this type of vehicle and the need for an operator's licence. In this case, the vehicle concerned had a permanent fixture, namely a crane and power-driven auger, which were used for erecting telegraph poles. The vehicle also carried poles for erection. It was ruled by the court that the poles were not required for use in connection with the crane or auger, so that the exemption in para.15(a) was deemed to be not applicable.

I should point out that this is in VOSA’s view and does not constitute legal opinion, as only a court of law can give a definitive interpretation of the legislation. .

I hope that the information given above has been of some help. If you have any further queries, do not hesitate to contact me. Once again, please accept my apologies for the delay in sending a full reply.

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