Low Loader Tractor

The Question

Dear sir/madam,

I hope that you are able to clarify some information for me and give me some guidence.

I run a small business and carry out agricultural contracting, I hope to buy a new low loader tractor in order to move my excavator around from job to job. The work we carry out is all within 15-20miles of our work base, the tractor that moves the excavator around is used not just for moving the excavator is is also used on site for other works. The machine that we are moving weighs 13 tonne, the low loader is 3.8 tonne and the tractor is 8-10 tonne. The tractor and the low loader are both# fitted with air bracking systems and are both well within the weight limit for this specific job.

Am I able to run the tractor on red diesel?
Do I need an operators license?
What kind of license do me and my staff need to drive the tractor?
Is there anything that I should consider before I go ahead with my purchase?

I hope that you are able to assist me with my quiery as false information I have been
given my other people could lead to me spending thousands on new machinery and then costing me more money in the long term in fines for not running the machinery legally.

The DVSA's Answer

I refer to your e – mail of 15 January, addressed to VOSA’s Contact Centre , concerning the above.
It has been passed to this office for reply. Please accept my apologies for the considerable delay in replying.

Agricultural tractors.

The Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Regulations 1995 identify the classes of vehicle for which an operators’ licence is not required. An Operators Licence is not required for vehicles described in Part 1 of Schedule 3. In Schedule 3 (1) “Any tractor as defined in paragraph 4(3) of Part IV of Schedule 1 Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 while being used for one or more of the purposes in Part II of this Schedule” is classed as exempt.

Part II goes on to outline these uses:
“1. Hauling;
(a) threshing appliances,
(b) farming implements.
(c) a living van for the accommodation of persons employed to drive the tractor; or
(d) supplies of water or fuel required for the tractor
2. Hauling articles for a farm required by the keeper, being either the occupier of the
farm or a contractor employed to do agricultural work on the farm by the occupier of the farm.

3. Hauling articles for a forestry estate required by the keeper where the keeper is the occupier of that estate or employed to do forestry work on the estate by the occupier or a contractor employed to do forestry work on the estate by the occupier.

4. Hauling within 24.135 kilometres (15 miles), of a farm or forestry estate occupied by the keeper, agricultural or woodland produce of the farm or estate.

5. Hauling within 24.125 kilometres, (15 miles), of a farm or a forrestry estate occupied by the keeper material to be spread on roads to deal with frost, ice or snow.

6. Hauling a snow plough or similar contrivance for the purpose of clearing snow; and

7. Hauling -

(a) soil for landscaping or similar works.
(b) a mowing machine ,
where the keeper is the local authority.”

All uses outside of these exemptions would require an operators licence.


2,When not used for agriculture the driver should hold the appropriate drivers licence for the size of the vehicle combination, the class F will not be sufficient when not used for agriculture.
3,The trailer if not used for agriculture would not be exempt and would require to be tested.
4, The red diesel is a question that should be put to HM Revenue & Customs Fuel Duty Branch, there are a number of different interpretations the Revenue & Customs use.
5, If not used under the exemption of vehicles with a maximum authorised speed of 40 kilometres per hour a tachograph would be required unless there is another specific exemption relating to its use. (See below scenario 3) [from 561/06] vehicles used or hired, without a driver, by agricultural, horticultural, forestry, farming or fishery undertakings for carrying goods as part of their own entrepreneurial activity within a radius of up to 100 km from the base of the undertaking;

Goods vehicle operator licensing

Most goods vehicles with a gross plated weight of over 3.5 tonnes or, if there is no plated weight, an unladen weight of over 1525 kg require a goods vehicle operator’s licence, if they are used to carry goods or burden of any description in connection with a trade or business, or for hire or reward. The requirement also applies to vehicles used for infrequent periods - such as one day.

Therefore, where you do not consider that the exemptions outlined above will apply you would be advised to hold an operators' licence and your best course of action would be to contact the national enquiry number (0300 123 9000) and request a starter pack so that you may apply for a licence. A restricted licence should be sufficient, provided that you are carrying your own goods.

I should point out that this is in VOSA’s view and does not constitute legal opinion.

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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