A Complete Guide to Operator Licenses

Logistics is integral to how the UK economy and the world economy function. To keep it running efficiently we need operators to do so.

This is where an operator’s licence comes in.

It ensures that we have fully trained staff that can drive and operate HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicles).

When staff are trained and diligent in operating such huge vehicles there is less chance of accidents and delays occurring.

In this article, we will take a deeper look into what the operating licence is and why it is important for fleet management

What is an Operator Licence?

drivers with operator license at suttons

An operator licence, often referred to as an O-licence, is a legal requirement for businesses that use goods vehicles above a certain weight.

This licence ensures that operators meet specific standards related to vehicle maintenance, financial standing, and safety practices. 

The primary purpose of an operator licence is to maintain road safety and ensure that transport operators adhere to regulations designed to prevent road accidents and environmental damage. 

How Much is an Operator Licence?

operator license at Suttons

The cost of an operator Licence in the UK varies depending on the type and scope of the licence. 

As of 2024, the application fee for a new licence is £257.

Once granted, there is an additional fee of £401 for issuing the licence. These fees apply to both Standard National and Standard International licences. 

For a Restricted Licence, which is typically for operators using vehicles solely within the UK, the fees remain the same. 

Additionally, there are ongoing costs to maintain the licence, including financial requirements to demonstrate sufficient funds for vehicle maintenance and operations.

These costs ensure that operators have the necessary financial stability to uphold safety and maintenance standards.

Do You Need an Operator Licence to Operate a HGV?

hgvs at suttons

Yes, you need an operator Licence to operate a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) for commercial purposes on public roads in the UK.

An O-licence is mandatory for businesses using vehicles above 3.5 tonnes of gross vehicle weight for transporting goods. 

How Long Does an Operator’s Licence Last?

An operator’s Licence in the UK typically lasts for five years. This duration applies to both Standard and Restricted Licences. 

At the end of the five-year period, operators must renew their licence to continue their operations legally. 

The renewal process involves being contacted every 5 years to ensure your licence shows the correct information.

Regular compliance with the conditions of the licence is crucial throughout its duration to avoid penalties or potential revocation.

Maintaining accurate and up-to-date records helps streamline the renewal process and ensures continuous legal operation.

What Types of Operator Licence Are There?

driver getting into greenchem cab at suttons

In the UK, there are three main types of operator’s Licences, each catering to different operational needs and scopes of business activities:

Standard National Licence

This licence allows operators to carry goods for hire or reward within the UK. 

It also permits the operator to transport their own goods internationally but not for hire or reward.

Standard International Licence

This licence permits operators to carry goods for hire or reward both within the UK and internationally. 

It is essential for businesses involved in the cross-border transport of goods.

Restricted Licence

This licence is for operators who transport their own goods within the UK and do not carry goods for hire or reward. 

It is typically used by businesses that use their vehicles solely for transporting goods that are directly related to their business operations, such as delivering their own products.

How to Apply for an Operator Licence

operator license government website

Here is a detailed guide to help you through the process:

  • Determine the Type of Licence You Need – It will either be a Standard National Licence, Standard International Licence or a Restricted Licence
  • Prepare Required Documentation – Get proof of sufficient funds to maintain vehicles (bank statements, credit facilities). Ensure you have details of vehicle maintenance arrangements. 
  • Complete the Application Form – Use form GV79 (HGVs) and use form PSV42 (PSVs). Forms can be downloaded from the UK government’s official website or obtained from the Traffic Commissioner’s office.
  • Submit Your Application – Send the completed application form, along with the necessary documentation and the application fee (£257), to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner. Pay the issue fee (£401) once your licence is granted.
  • Undergo an Assessment – Your application will be reviewed by the Traffic Commissioner.
  • Await Decision – If no objections are raised and all criteria are met, your licence will be issued.

Fully Licensed Operators – Suttons Tankers

Suttons Tankers stands out in the industry as a DVSA Earned Recognition Operator, a prestigious accreditation held by only a select few operators. 

This recognition shows our commitment to standards in safety, compliance, and operational efficiency. 

Having this recognition enhances our reputation and sets us apart from other operators in the logistics sector.

Understanding what an operator’s licence is and its significance is crucial for anyone involved in commercial vehicle operations.

Whether you’re employing staff or ensuring compliance within the logistics industry, you need to understand these requirements. 

At Suttons Tankers, we pride ourselves on our commitment to compliance and safety.

We ensure that we meet all regulatory requirements while transporting a variety of materials in bulk across the UK. 

If you need a logistics operator to transfer your products across the UK and beyond then please contact us

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