Do I need an operator’s licence for a road sweeper?

Road sweepers are essential tools for maintaining clean and safe roadways. These specialised vehicles play a crucial role in sweeping away debris and litter, ensuring that our streets remain hazard-free and welcoming. However, if you’re considering utilising a road sweeper, you might be wondering whether you need an operator’s licence. Let’s delve into the requirements and regulations surrounding road sweeper operations to provide you with a clear understanding.

Understanding the Basics:

To operate a road sweeper on UK roads, you will need to meet specific criteria. The type of driver’s licence you hold and the characteristics of the road sweeper itself determine whether you need an operator’s licence.

Driver’s Licence: At a minimum, you will need a class C driver’s licence to operate a road sweeper. This licence category covers the operation of larger vehicles and is typically sufficient for road sweeper use.

Weight Threshold: If the road sweeper’s gross vehicle mass (GVM) exceeds 4.5 tonnes, you will need to acquire a Rigid driving licence. This requirement is in place to ensure that operators can safely handle heavier vehicles.


Training and Competence:

While there isn’t a specific licence designated for road sweeper operation, formal training is crucial. Whether you’re an individual driver or part of a company, undergoing proper training showcases your competence in safely operating road sweepers. This training emphasises the complexities of operating these specialised vehicles and ensures that operators are skilled in maintaining safety standards.


Exemption from Operator’s Licence:

An interesting aspect of road sweeper operation is that road sweepers are exempt from traditional operator’s licence requirements. They are categorised as wheeled Plant vehicles, which grants them this exemption. This means that operators are not required to obtain a separate operator’s licence specifically for a road sweeper operation.


However, if the road sweeper is being used on public roads, the driver must possess a Category C driving licence and a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). This certification attests to the driver’s proficiency in operating such vehicles, upholding the highest standards of safety and professionalism.


Exceptions to Operator’s Licence:

It’s important to note that not all vehicles require an operator’s licence. Several vehicle types fall under exceptions, including:

Military vehicles

Snow ploughs and gritters

Emergency service vehicles (used by utility companies)


Recovery vehicles (if exclusively used for recovery purposes)

Tractors and agricultural vehicles used under specific circumstances.


In conclusion, if you’re considering operating a road sweeper, the requirement for an operator’s licence depends on the type of licence you possess, the weight of the sweeper, and its intended use. While there isn’t a specific road sweeper licence, proper training is crucial for safe operation. The exemption of road sweepers from operator’s licensing underscores their unique status as wheeled Plant vehicles. By adhering to training and safety standards, we can ensure the effective operation of road sweepers while upholding professionalism and security on our roadways.

NTP Online Learning can be a valuable resource to gain a better understanding of Operator Licencing requirements and exemptions, so make sure you subscribe to our blog so that you never miss important information.

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