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Important message for all HGV operators

You may be aware of a recent legal decision made by the Upper Tribunal (found here, and in particularly paragraphs 31-38) where it was ruled that all goods vehicles in possession of an operator are deemed to be ‘in use’ and must be authorised under the operator’s licence.

The Traffic Commissioners are aware of a practice in some areas of the industry where operators have more vehicles in possession than are authorised. Operators have been specifying vehicles when carrying out a specific operation, and then exchanging them on the licence for another vehicle. One example was a pallet network removing one or two rigids each evening and replacing them with articulated lorries for the overnight trunk. A less blatant but still illegal example is where an operator with a licence authorising 20 vehicles, but who has 21 vehicles in their possession uses the spare vehicle as a replacement whenever one of the other 20 vehicles are being serviced or inspected.

This ruling means that operators must specify all goods vehicles in their possession, onto their operator’s licence even if they are not used on a public road all the time.

For some operators, this will mean a variation is required as there will not be sufficient margin on their licence. You can manage your operator’s licence here. Operating centres must have sufficient capacity for all vehicles.

In making the ruling, the Upper Tribunal has reinforced the principles of the operator licensing system, making sure that financial standing and resourcing are properly reflected and helping to ensure that a level playing field is maintained.

The Traffic Commissioners may consider taking regulatory action against a licence if an operator is found to have more vehicles in possession than authorised under it.

Author: Transolva Group
Categories: News

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