Important Changes To operator Licensing: Published 3/10/2011

Important Changes to Operator Licensing
Big changes are being made to the way operator licensing works and also the way that Transport Managers are viewed by authorities such as the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and the Traffic Commissioners.

Central to these changes are the new rules for Transport Managers. VOSA is clearly aiming to crack down on Transport Managers who do not make the grade in the eyes of the Traffic Commissioners.

Also, all operators are being contacted by the Traffic Commissioners with detailed explanations of the changes to the legislation and a form to complete to provide the DfT with new information that is required. We recommend that you read the guidance carefully and ensure you have a full understanding of how the changes will affect you.

A summary of changes is listed below but if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Transport Managers

From the 4th of December 2011 all Transport Managers will have an additional classification as Internal (Employed by an operator) External (self employed) or both.

If the Transport Manager is Internal they must have a genuine link to the licence holder as an employee. If the Transport Manager is external they must be under a contract that specifies the tasks they will perform and responsibilities they hold. They can only work for a maximum of 4 operators and manage a maximum combined fleet of 50 vehicles. If a Transport Manager is classed as both then the same rules apply as for External TMs.

Grandfather Rights
A new “Acquired Rights” certificate which replaces Grandfather Rights will automatically be issued by the DfT to all Transport Managers with Grandfather Rights that are currently listed on an operator licence who return the questionnaire completed that is received in the post.

New “Acquired Rights” certificates can be held by those individuals who can provide proof if asked that they have “continuously managed” a road haulage operator or a road passenger transport operator in one or more member states for the period of 10 years ending December 2009

Transport Mangers also have to sign and return a declaration of intent that stipulates the role of a Transport Manager and their responsibilities.

Operator Licensing

National Register
A new national electronic register is being created in the UK which will be accessible by all EU member states. The purpose is to enable EU members to access information about international operators and transport managers.

Financial Standing
The range of acceptable evidence provided to Traffic commissioners for standard licences and applications will change.

Rates for financial standing will be calculated every year instead of 5 years and is based on the GBP/EUR exchange rate.

Address of Establishment
It will be a requirement that every standard licence holder will have an establishment in GB with premises in which it keeps its core business documents including accounting, personnel documents and data on driving time and rest. This means that a P.O. box or third party address is no longer considered an acceptable correspondence address.

Access to a vehicle
Standard licence holders must have access by ownership or via a formal agreement to at least one vehicle registered or in circulation in GB.

Small Trailer Exemption
Currently if a vehicle is towing a trailer with an unladen weight of less than 1020kg then the weight of the trailer does not count towards the gross weight of the vehicle. After the 4th of December 2011 this exemption is set to be abolished for people operating for hire and reward (those that would otherwise require a standard operators licence). People who would require a restricted licence are not affected, currently.


It is important to ensure you have a good understanding of these changes as they could affect your licence. If you need any clarification or want to discuss your situation, contact us.

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