Do you need an operator licence to hire an HGV?


Do You Need an Operator Licence to Hire an HGV? Driving a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) on the road isn’t as simple as just owning or hiring the vehicle. There are regulations to comply with, which revolve around the concept of an Operator’s Licence. Here’s everything you need to know:


What is an Operator’s Licence?

An Operator’s Licence, sometimes referred to as an ‘O-Licence’, is a certificate confirming that an individual or business has met all the necessary regulations to operate their vehicle on public roads. This is specifically essential if the vehicle in question is over 3.5 tonnes (3500kg) plated weight and is used for carrying goods, whether for business or trade.  An Operator Licence is necessary regardless of whether the carriage of the goods is for personal use, hire, or reward.

Who Needs To Apply For An Operator’s Licence?

Almost anyone involved with the operation of goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes (3500kg), buses, or coaches should apply for this licence.

You need an Operator’s Licence if:

You’re both the driver and owner of the vehicle.

The vehicle is under your lawful possession (hire, hire-purchase, or loan).

The driver is employed by you or acts on your behalf.


Types of Operator Licences:

There are primarily three types of O-Licences, each with its distinct provisions:


Standard International Licence:

Used for transporting your own and others’ goods in the UK and abroad.

Both the applicant and the Transport Manager must have a good reputation and proven professional competence.

Standard National Licence:

Allows transport of one’s own goods in the UK and abroad, and others’ goods in the UK.

Both the applicant and the Transport Manager should meet the criteria of good repute and professional competence.

Restricted Licence:

Strictly for carrying one’s own goods in the UK and EU.

No need to employ a Transport Manager

Ideal for those who produce and deliver their own products or transport tools/equipment for jobs (like scaffolders).


Exemptions from the Operator’s Licence:

There are specific vehicles and circumstances under which you’re exempt from having an Operator licence:

Vehicles first used before 1977, weighing 1,525 kilograms or less, and a maximum weight over 3,500 kilograms.

Vehicles covering less than 6 miles a week between the same owner’s private premises.

Vehicles using trade plates

Specific vehicle categories such as military vehicles, snow ploughs, emergency service vehicles, hearses, recovery vehicles, tractors in particular conditions, and vehicles like road sweepers or cherry pickers with permanently attached equipment.

However, vehicles that are never exempt include mobile exhibition units, catering trucks, mobile shops, and mobile medical screening vehicles.


Vehicle Operator Requirements:


To qualify for an Operator’s Licence:

You must be established in Great Britain.

Employ a competent and reputable transport manager except for a Restricted Operator Licence.

Have “access” to a vehicle, either owned or under a formal contract with a hire company.

Maintain a solid reputation and fitness to hold a licence.

Have sound financial standing.

Ensure proper vehicle maintenance.

Ensure all rules are obeyed by you and your staff.

For a Standard Licence, additional conditions apply. Also, note that while licence holders don’t need to own or hire a vehicle constantly, they must have an agreement in place to access a vehicle when needed.

In conclusion, if you’re planning on operating an HGV for the transportation of goods, understanding the ins and outs of the Operator’s Licence is crucial. This not only ensures that you comply with regulations but also provides a smoother journey in the world of transportation. You can find out more information about operator licencing by signing up to NTP’s blog posts.

Do You Need an Operator Licence to Hire an HGV?


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