New rules are now in force for Light Goods Vehicle Operators in Europe

Department for Transport

The Department for Transport has issued the following update:

On 21 May 2022, new EU rules came into force requiring users of vans and other light goods vehicles weighing between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes and which transport goods for hire or reward from the UK into, or through the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, to hold an International Operators’ Licence.

If you do not possess this licence, you may now find your business disrupted. You could also face enforcement action, including fines, impounding or being asked to return to the UK, depending on the country that you are stopped in.

Although the rules are now in force, if you need to travel to the EU for hire or reward, you can still apply. To reduce any possible disruption, you should select the interim licence option.

If you already hold an International Operators’ Licence for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) you can add extra LGVs to your existing licence. 

Visit GOV.UK for further information on the new EU rules and what to do next.

You may also need to make posting declarations for journeys to the EU

If you’re transporting goods between two points in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway for commercial purposes, (known as cabotage or cross trade), you must now make a “posting declaration”, which means registering the operator, driver, driver employment details, dates of travel, and the vehicle used.

The information you need to sign up and start declaring is available on GOV.UK. Or, you can access the EU Portal and FAQs now.

Self-Driving buses, shuttles and delivery vans could soon hit UK roads

Th UK Government’s latest press release describes a new £40 million competition to kick-start commercial self-driving services, such as delivery vehicles and passenger shuttles:

A new £40 million competition to kick-start commercial self-driving services, such as delivery vehicles and passenger shuttles, has been launched today (Monday 23 May) by Lord Grimstone, Minister for Investment. The funding could create tens of thousands of skilled jobs across the UK over the next decade.

The ‘Commercialising Connected and Automated Mobility’ competition will provide grants to help roll out commercial use self-driving vehicles across the UK from 2025, delivering convenience for consumers and making journeys safer, greener and more reliable.

The competition will help bring together companies and investors so that sustainable business models to be rolled out nationally and exported globally.

Types of self-driving vehicles that could be deployed include delivery vans, passenger buses, shuttles and pods, as well as vehicles that move people and luggage at airports and containers at shipping ports.

Minister for Investment Lord Grimstone said:

Self-driving vehicles have the potential to revolutionise people’s lives, whether its by helping to better connect people who rely on public transport with jobs, local shops, and vital services, or by making it easier for those who have mobility issues to order and access services conveniently.

This funding will help unlock the incredible potential of this new and growing industry, building on the continued development of self-driving technology, attracting investment and helping make our transport cleaner, safer and more efficient.

Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said:

We know that self-driving vehicles have the potential to revolutionise the way we travel, making our future journeys cleaner, easier and more reliable. But our absolute priority is harnessing the technology to improve road safety.

With around 88% of road collisions currently caused by human error, this funding will drive the introduction of new technology to improve travel for all, while boosting economic growth and highly skilled jobs across the nation.

The competition will cement the UK’s reputation as a global leader in self-driving vehicle technology, unlocking a new industry that could be worth £42 billion to the UK economy by 2035, potentially creating 38,000 new skilled jobs.

£1.5 million of the funding will be used to study and explore using self-driving vehicles as a means of public transport that could provide an alternative to mass transit systems. This includes, for example, using self-driving vehicles on routes separated from other traffic that could be cheaper and more flexible than new railway lines.

The UK government is continuing to develop a comprehensive legal and assurance framework for self-driving vehicles to ensure the safety of the technology. The government announced a Transport Bill in the recent Queen’s Speech that will introduce comprehensive legislation for self-driving vehicles to enable safe and responsible deployment.

The first vehicles to be listed as self-driving in the UK – vehicles approved under the Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) Regulation – could be available for people to purchase, lease or rent later this year. Vehicles will undergo rigorous testing and will only be permitted to drive themselves when they have met stringent standards.

The work undertaken by the government and its partners has already ensured that the UK has a proven track record in leading connected and self-driving vehicle innovation, enabling joint public and private investment of £440 million.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Chief Executive Mike Hawes said:

Self-driving vehicles offer major benefits to society – improving road safety, supporting new jobs and economic growth, and enabling greater mobility for everyone – so the UK is rightly seeking to be at the forefront of this technological evolution. Recent regulatory reforms have helped Britain establish itself as a leader in the rollout out of self-driving passenger vehicles, and today’s announcement is a significant step towards self-driving public transport and goods delivery services becoming a reality. This new funding competition will help drive innovation and, potentially, private investment in UK automotive, ensuring cutting-edge self-driving technology finds a clearer path to UK roads.”

Self-driving buses, shuttles and delivery vans could soon hit UK roads thanks to £40 million government-funded competition – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Transport Secretary considering 2-year MOT test

MOT test

Earlier this week, an idea was floated in parliament for the annual MOT test to be replaced with a check every two years in a bid to ease the cost-of-living crisis.

The move to a two-year check would save car drivers around £55 a year along with the costs of any vehicle repairs.

Commenting on the issue, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps noted that “cars have clearly become a lot more reliable than when the MOT, named after the Ministry of Transport, was put in place”.  However, any changes would need to meet a “very rigorous safety standard” in order to allay concerns over roadworthiness.  How, for example, would the proposed changes reconcile the age and technological superiority between the range of vehicles on the roads today?

Shapps went on to state “I think it’s always right to keep these things under review, but there’s a lot of road to cover before we get to that point.”

The Law on MOT tests

The legal position currently remains that cars must have an MOT test on the third anniversary of registration, and every year thereafter.

Driving without a valid MOT certificate is an offence, for which you could receive a fine of  up to £1000.

The only exception to the requirement to have an up-to-date MOT is where the vehicle is being driven to the MOT test, however you should ensure that you have proof of the booking with you in case you are stopped by police.

To check whether you currently have a valid MOT certificate in place, you can enter your vehicle’s registration into the Government’s website here: Check the MOT status of a vehicle – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

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