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Making LGV Deliveries in Europe? Be Aware!

How to avoid business disruption…

Mike Kenny, Head of SmartCheck, shares information gleaned from DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) and The Traffic Commissioner, about the expectation of LGV fleet operators when delivering goods to Europe.

Compliance expectation for HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicles) operators, delivering in the UK or Europe, is well documented and has been in situ for many years. These have varied over time with Department of Transport and EU changes but in general HGV operators understand the legislation and the penalties for non-compliance.

However, if you run vans or other light goods vehicles and trailers, don’t think you are exempt from similar compliance demands, if you deliver goods to Europe!

Are you aware that in May this year, new EU rules came into force for

users of vans, light goods vehicles or trailer, delivering into Europe? LGVs and trailers weighing between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes and which transport goods for hire or reward from the UK into or through, the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein, must now hold an International Operators’ Licence.

If you have an existing HGV International Operators’ Licence then you need only apply to add your LGVs and trailers, if not then you’ll need to apply for one.

Guidance is given via the Traffic Commissioners’ website Operators’ Licence Guide and you’ll need to show that your LGV fleet operates to the same compliance levels as that expected of HGV fleets

That means:

Professional Competence

You’ll need to prove that either you or your company have sufficient professional competence to run your operation safely and efficiently, including:

  • planning routes and scheduling delivery times

  • managing your team of drivers and administration staff

  • making sure drivers follow company and industry regulations

  • arranging vehicle maintenance, MOTs and tax payments

  • organising vehicle replacements

These are activities that most operators implement daily; just be aware that you’ll need to prove that this is the case.

You’ll also need a Transport Manager, namely someone engaged to oversee fleet compliance who has a Transport Manager Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). This can be an employee or a contractor.

By law, you’ll also need to prove that you have access to a set amount of finance to run your operation. The amount you need depends on how many vehicles you have. You’ll need to show that you have £1,600 available for your first vehicle and £800 per additional vehicle in your fleet.

You likely know all this, as it has been in place since May 2022 and hopefully, you’ll have everything in place but there are two other areas of compliance that have been given less coverage….

You’ll need a UK Licence for the Community, if you make journeys for hire or reward within the EU, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

It’s a single permit that covers trips between these countries. It also allows transit through these countries to and from non-EU countries

A certificate to evidence this must be kept within each vehicle delivering into Europe.

Daily Checks… Yes, you need to have this practice in place

By its very nature, holding an Operators’ Licence, even if you have a 100% LGV fleet, puts you in the same category as HGV fleets, in terms of pre-shift checks. This means your drivers doing daily checks, pre-shift and being able to show this should they be stopped roadside or be involved in a traffic incident. It also means having a robust DVSA compliant defect management system in place.

While still road safety orientated, the extent of the pre-shift checks needed for LGV are fewer than a typical HGV but adequate time must still be allowed in the driver’s working day to complete these: solutions such as SmartCheck are designed to make this process quick, simple and paperless, for your drivers DVSA provide some guidance for these checks.

All completed reports are available to you upon completion, a copy is kept by the drive

r and any defects are highlighted to you, so that they can be actioned. All reports and defect management activity being stored and available on demand, should your records ever need to be examined. Better to be prepared from day one!

Avoid business disruption…

Failure to adhere to Operators’ Licence compliance requirements risks your

vehicles being delayed, fines administered and even vehicle impoundment. Avoid this by making sure you are compliant. Advice is free from DVSA and the Office of the Traffic Commissioner and contact a company like SmartCheck to help implement low-cost fleet compliance systems.

Acknowledgements: Many thanks to both OTC and DVSA Press Offices, for their support.


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