Being a goods vehicle operator

10. Exemptions

You don’t need a goods vehicle operator’s licence if your vehicle:

  • was first used before 1977, has an unladen weight of 1,525 kilograms or less and a maximum gross plated weight over 3,500 kilograms
  • is using public roads for less than 6 miles a week whilst moving between private premises belonging to the same person as the vehicle (if the vehicle’s used for excavation or demolition it doesn’t matter who it belongs to)
  • is being used on trade plates
  • is a passenger carrying vehicle

Categories of vehicles that are exempt

Several types of vehicle don’t need an operator’s licence, including:

  • military vehicles
  • snow ploughs and gritters
  • emergency service vehicles (including those used by gas, electricity, water and telephone companies)
  • electric or steam powered vehicles
  • hearses
  • recovery vehicles (only if they’re used exclusively for that purpose)
  • tractors and agricultural vehicles used in certain circumstances

Read the guidance to find out more about the vehicle operator licensing system.

Categories of vehicles that aren’t exempt

These types of vehicles are never exempt:

  • mobile exhibition vehicles
  • catering vehicles
  • mobile shops
  • mobile medical screening vehicles
  • vehicles with fixed equipment carrying goods not strictly for use in connection with that equipment, or towing a trailer that’s carrying goods