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Government to consult on EV changes to driving licences, ‘O’ Licences and MoTs

Government to consult on EV changes to driving licences, ‘O’ Licences and MoTs

Van drivers are set to be given the right to use heavier vehicles if they are electric or gas-powered, in measures that will help improve air quality in towns and cities across the country.  

Alongside publication of the ‘UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide Concentrations’, the government has published a separate consultation that proposes:
  • Increasing the weight limit of alternatively-fuelled vans that can be driven on a category B driving licence in the UK          
  • Exempting certain alternatively-fuelled vans from goods vehicle Operator Licensing requirements in Britain          
  • Introducing roadworthiness testing for electric vans in.  

The government said: “Vans spend much of their time completing driving routes around our towns and cities and over 96% of them are diesel powered. The UK government wants to support the continued contribution of vans to the economy whilst also reducing their environmental impact. One way of achieving this is to encourage the uptake of cleaner fuels in our delivery vehicle fleet.”  

The proposed driving licence changes would allow category B (car and van) licence holders to drive a slightly heavier vehicle, if it was powered by a low emission technology, by offsetting the additional weight of the powertrain. That, said the Department for Transport, would help compensate for lost payload capacity due to the added weight and size of alternative fuel technologies.

The threshold for moving from a category B (car and van) licence to a category C1 (lighter goods vehicle) licence is currently 3,500kg maximum authorised mass. But the government is proposing increasing that to 4,250kg.  

The Government is also consulting on a similar exemption from Operator Licensing requirements for alternatively-fuelled vans used for own account haulage. That would help operators to avoid becoming subject to the full operator licensing regime if they invested in cleaner but slightly heavier vans up to 4,250kg.  

Simultaneously, the government is proposing to correct a regulatory anomaly, which means that electric vans are currently exempt from MoT testing. The consultation runs until 18 October.          

The consultation on ‘Category B Driving Licence Derogation for Alternatively-Fuelled Commercial Vehicles’ is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/category-b-driving-licence-derogation-for-alternatively-fuelled-commercial-vehicles