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Goods vehicle operator licences

Goods vehicle operator licences are administered by the Traffic Commissioner at the Department for Transport and are there to regulate companies and individuals operating goods vehicles.

Applications within the Bedford Borough area are dealt with by the Traffic Commissioner for the Eastern Traffic Area.

There are a number of organisations that have a Statutory Right to object to an application for a new GVOL or an application to vary a licence. This includes a Local Authority. If an objection is received then the Traffic Commissioner decides if they have sufficient information to make a decision or if a Public Inquiry to hear evidence from all parties is needed, before reaching a decision.

Formal objections by Local Authorities are usually on one of two grounds:

  • That the applicant is not a fit person to run the operation and/or of good repute
  • That the operating centre is not suitable to accommodate the vehicles to which the licence applies

Alternatively an objection can be made on environmental grounds if it is felt that the operating centre would result in environmental harm, eg noise, fumes, pollution.

In relation to Highway Authority objections will generally only be lodged on the grounds relating to the operation system, which are generally restricted to the following:

  • The site is too small to accommodate the number of vehicles and trailers when not in use
  • There is insufficient turning area within the site
  • The access point fro the site to the public highway is unsafe

In general if the operating centre would result in more HGVs using the local highway network, even if it is deemed to be inadequate to accommodate these additional HGVs, the Traffic Commissioner would be likely to advise that there is provision under the Highway and Traffic Acts to restrict unsuitable traffic on unsuitable roads and may grant the licence. The Traffic Commissioner often takes the view that it is the Highway Authority's (Bedford Borough Council) responsibility to maintain the road and ensure that it is capable of carrying the vehicles entitled to use it.