Operator Licences for Goods Vehicles

A new agency with responsibility for maintaining vehicle standards was launched on 28 November 2013. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) combined the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and the Driving Standards Agency (DSA). The DVSA is responsible for dealing with all matters relating to Operator’s Licences.

Offences concerning Operator’s Licences can often be an extremely technical and complex area of the law. In general criminal cases, the vast majority of cases take place in the Magistrates’ Courts or the Crown Courts whereas with matters concerning Operator’s Licence, the Traffic Commissioner is King.

Operators can often commit offences without even realising and offences can be committed where operators fail to adhere to conditions attached to their licence. Some of the more serious offences can result in a prison sentence of up to 2 years and/or unlimited fine .

Our specialist motor law team at Olliers possess in depth knowledge of the legislation and procedures involved in all aspects of Operators’ Licensing. We can provide comprehensive assistance for the following:

  • Application for operators licence
  • Prosecutions in the UK
  • DVSA: Driver Vehicle Standards Agency
  • Public Inquiry
  • Driver Conduct Hearing

If you have been called to a Public Inquiry in respect of an application then please click here [hyperlink] 

Which Operator’s Licence?

Many offences can stem from simply not having the relevant operator’s licence and this in itself carries a fine of up to £5000. When applying for a licence it is important you first of all apply for the correct one of the following:

– Restricted Licence: this allows you to transport your own goods in your own vehicle anywhere in GB

– Standard National Licence: allows you to take your own goods across GB and abroad as well as another person’s goods however the latter is restricted to GB locations only

Standard International Licence: this licence with the least restrictions allows you to take anybody’s goods, anywhere in GB or abroad.

The Application (GV79)

The application process is an arduous process which may seem intimidating to first-time appliers. It is not uncommon for even more experienced operators to have difficulties with this process due to its depth.

There are various stages to the application process with some of the main considerations being:

Transport manager: The majority of Operator Licence holders will need to employ a Transport Manager. The only circumstance where this does not apply is if you are trying to obtain a Restricted Licence. Any Transport Manager must hold a certificate of Professional Competence and be of good repute.

Your financial standing: It is absolutely crucial that new applications address this point fully and the Traffic Commissioner will want to assess your finances to see if you can realistically support the number of vehicles you are requesting to operate under your licence. You must be able to demonstrate that you have sufficient capital and reserves to satisfy the financial standing criteria. You must have available capital and reserves of £7,200 for the first vehicle licence and £4,000 for each vehicle licence thereafter (standard national and international licence holders only. For Restricted licences please call for specific advice).
Proof of such income needs to be produced and be water tight so we would recommend seeking financial advice on this point alone to avoid the risk of a refusal. We can offer an “application completion” service which takes the majority of the stress of the application off your shoulders for a fixed fee so please contact us to discuss this with us.

Previous licence history: Previous applications, refusals, issues that may have arisen whilst holding an operator’s licence etc will all be considered and it is important that full disclosure is made and accounted for.

Criminal Convictions: previous convictions that may seem unimportant may affect your application and this will all be considered as part of the process by the Traffic Commissioner. Different offences have varying lengths of time before becoming “spent” (and therefore no longer need to be disclosed) and we can provide advice on exactly what you need to disclose.

Operating Centre Requirements: You must be able to show that you have a valid operating centre in place as part of your application and certain criteria must be met. Do you own your premises? Questions to consider are:

  • Do you rent or is the site used with permission?
  • Is it of a suitable size?
  • Does it have suitable access?
  • Does the site comply with environmental legislation?

Not only must the planning permissions be in place for the site but it was also be accurately advertised in a local newspaper to allow local bodies/organisations the opportunity to object.

Fitness to hold a licence/Repute: Both the Operator and its agents/servants need to be fit to hold a licence. Full disclosure of relevant convictions is essential and there are various other considerations such as:

  • Has your business been formed from the result on another business ceasing to trade?
  • Is your application as a result of changes to your operator services?

You must inform your local Traffic Commissioner of any changes to your licence or application – failure to do so could result in prosecution or refusal of the application.

We offer a an application service at Olliers Motor Law to take the stress off your shoulders. For a fixed fee we can advise and assist you in the completion of your application throughout the entire process which will significantly increase your chances of a successful application.


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