Traffic Commissioners Set Operator Licensing Objectives

The Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain have outlined their strategic objectives for the coming few years. Listing operator licensing as a top priority, their aim is to prepare the UK's transport industry for the future.

Here we outline how the Traffic Commissioners aim to develop the operator licensing regime over the coming years, and explain who could be affected by the changes.

Traffic Commissioners' Strategic Objectives 2021-2023

The Traffic Commissioners have issued a manifesto in the form of a strategic objectives report. This outlines their plans for 2021-2023, in particular:

  • to deliver a modern and effective operator licensing regime that ensures operators are fit to hold a licence whilst minimising the regulatory burden on the compliant; and
  • to promote and develop a safe road transport industry, which delivers compliance, fair competition and protects the environment.

Read the full report here for more information about the Traffic Commissioners' Strategy.

Changes to Operator Licensing

The report also details how the Traffic Commissioners intend to fulfil their objectives by seeking legislative change and working with strategic partners. Goods vehicle operators and businesses involved with the transport industry can therefore expect to see the following changes to the o licensing regime over the coming years:

  1. Partnership between the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain and the DVSA
    In an effort to accelerate out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Traffic Commissioners will develop a new working relationship with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to deliver an efficient licensing service. This effort will see both key bodies assess their processes and IT systems with a view to streamlining the operator licensing process.
  2. Faster Application Rulings and Public Inquiry Listings
    The report reiterates that a rapid and effective licensing regime remains a priority for the Traffic Commissioners. Targets set by government ministers state that operator's licence applications should be dealt with within 35 working days whilst public inquiries should be listed for hearing within 12 weeks. The Commissioners aim to address backlogs and speed up the decision-making process by engaging with key partners to reform the licensing system.
  3. Lower Costs for O Licence Applicants
    The Traffic Commissioners recognise that licensing and regulation go hand in hand and aim to positively influence legislative change to improve the current system. This includes a potential review of fees to remove or lower the costs of entry to the transport industry. Similar plans are afoot to ensure that responsible businesses are not unduly burdened when Light Goods Vehicles (LGVs) and longer semi-trailers are integrated into the operator licensing system
  4. Greater Engagement with Vehicle Operators
    The coming few years will also see the authorities attempt to engage more closely with vehicle operators and transport businesses. The Traffic Commissioners aim to support growth and regeneration following the pandemic whilst also ensuring operators can meet their regulatory compliance obligations. Further guidance and targeted communications are just some of the options being explored.

The Future of Operator Licensing

While it is welcome news that the Traffic Commissioners' intend to improve the operator licensing regime, it is not yet clear how regulatory developments will affect businesses and goods vehicle operators.

Operator Licence Services Ltd can help you to acquire the Operator's License you need to run your business. For the best chance of gaining the approval of the Traffic Commissioner, contact our team today.