If your business uses goods vehicles, such as lorries and vans, then you may require an O Licence (Operator’s Licence) to operate legally and comply with UK legislation.
Here we take a look at when you need an O Licence, the requirements, and how to apply for one.
When Do You Need An O Licence?
The maximum gross plated weight a vehicle can have at any one time is 3,500 kilograms. The maximum unladen weight of 1,515 kilograms without the requirement for an O Licence.
There are three different types of HGV O Licence, and the type that you will need to obtain depends on the kind of work you do. The three options that are available are as follows:
- Standard National Licence – for carrying your goods in the UK and internationally and other people’s goods in the UK. You can also transport trailers to and from ports within the UK as part of an international journey if the towing vehicle does not leave the country.
- Standard International Licence – allows you to make trips between EU member countries, transit traffic through EU member countries, and journeys entirely within another EU country.
- Restricted Licence – allows you to carry your own goods but not other people’s goods. Your licence remains valid as long as you continue to pay the five-yearly continuation fee, and you will be contacted every five years to ensure the licence displays the correct information.
To meet the O Licence requirements, your vehicles need to be correctly taxed and kept in a good, safe condition. Any drivers used in conjunction with these vehicles are also expected to have the correct licence and training (Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC)).
In Great Britain, there are eight traffic areas, each with a Traffic Commissioner. You will need an O Licence for each traffic area that you have an operating centre. You will need to show that your operating centre has safe access, is large enough, and is in an environmentally acceptable location.
The Traffic Commissioner is responsible for issuing HGV O Licences, granting Vocational Licences, and taking action against HGV drivers.
The Traffic Commissioner’s Office may also hold public enquiries considering applications for new O licences, the environmental suitability of your HGV operating centres, and disciplinary action against you if you break the conditions of your licence.
How To Apply
The Goods Vehicle Operator Licencing Scheme is administered by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) on behalf of the Traffic Commissioner’s Office. You will need to apply for a licence nine weeks before you would like to start working. This allows time for the processing of your application, which you will be required to pay a fee for.
The O Licence application fees for 2021 are:
- Licence application: £257
- Issuance of licence: £401
- Five-year continuation licence: £401
- Significant licence change: £257
- Interim licence: £68
Before you apply for your O Licence, you must:
- Advertise your application for a licence.
- Advertise your proposed operating centre(s).
- Designate a transport manager if you’re applying for a Standard Licence.
- Provide information about your financial situation.
- Draw up a maintenance contract with a garage or agent to do safety inspections and repair vehicles. You need to hold onto maintenance and inspection records for a minimum of 15 years.
You can apply for your O Licence online, and you will then have to fill out the Goods Vehicle O Licence forms (Form GV79). Typically, you will get an O licence decision within seven weeks if you apply online or nine weeks by post.
If you need a licence urgently, you can apply for an interim licence until you get your full licence. The Traffic Commissioner will only consider issuing an interim operators licence on receipt of a complete application for an Operator’s Licence.
Further information regarding the traffic areas in Great Britain and how to make payment, please refer to the GOV.UK website or the DVSA Helpline on 0300 123 9000.