Modernising Operator Licensing UK
The way forward
London, United Kingdom – The licensing system for operators of heavy goods vehicles and public service vehicles will be streamlined and modernised, Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman announced 2006-12-06.
The proposals follow a consultation process and form part of the Department for Transport’s commitment to provide better regulation of the road haulage and passenger transport industries, outlined in the ‘Future of Transport’ White Paper.
Dr Ladyman said: "I want to cut red tape for the road haulage and passenger transport industries whilst maintaining safety standards. These proposals will reduce administrative burdens associated with licensing and build upon efficiency improvements already made by the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency (VOSA)."
The changes include:
- a single traffic commissioner for operators based in more than one traffic area;
- a simplified fee structure with most licence fees being merged with the fee for annual roadworthiness tests;
- a commitment to abolish windscreen discs after the roll-out of new enforcement technology.
Overall these changes are expected to save the industries around £15 million a year.
- 1. Operators of public service vehicles and goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes require an operator’s licence. The licensing system is administered by traffic commissioners who are based in eight regional traffic areas – six in England and one each in Scotland and Wales. Operators require a separate licence for each traffic area in which they are based.
- 2. Full details of the proposals for reform were set out in the consultation paper "Modernising Operator Licensing" which was published on 19 December 2005 and is available on the Department’s web site: http://www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_freight/documents/page/dft_freight_613776.hcsp
An analysis of responses to the consultation is also available.
- 3. Two key changes have been made to the proposals put forward in the consultation paper in the light of representations by the road haulage industry:
- The proposed fee structure for goods vehicles will be changed so that only O licence vehicle fees will be merged with roadworthiness test fees. This will remove the vast majority of financial transactions but produce a fairer distribution of costs between different sectors of the industry. For the PSV sector, all fees will be merged except for application fees for new licences or major variations.
- Evidence suggests that the abolition of the one month margin concession (which would require immediate notification of vehicles used under a licence) could impose a much higher burden on the industry than originally thought. It is therefore proposed to carry out further work to evaluate the costs and benefits of this proposal before making a decision. This work will also look at options for minimising the burden of an immediate notification requirement.
- 4. Traffic Commissioners will shortly be consulting the industries on draft practice directions which will set out the detailed arrangements for holders of more than one licence. These operators will be allocated to a single Commissioner who will act as Commissioner in his or her own area and as a deputy in the other areas where the operator holds a licence. It is expected that these arrangements will come into force during 2007.
- 5. The fee restructuring will come into force during 2008. VOSA will be consulting the industries over arrangements for giving credit to operators for licence fees paid in advance under the existing system.
- 6. As indicated previously in our consultation paper, we will abolish HGV windscreen discs when our research shows that access to new technology is sufficiently advanced to ensure that existing levels of enforcement can be maintained.