In July 2017, the Government published the consultation, ‘Category B Driving Licence Derogation for Alternatively Fuelled Commercial Vehicles’. The policy objective of the consultation is to promote the uptake of cleaner and more efficient vans whilst overcoming the potential barrier caused by the heavier weight of these cleaner power trains and reduced payloads.
The consultation consisted of 3 proposals;

  1.  Allowing drivers with a category B licence to drive alternatively fuelled vehicles with a maximum authorised mass of 4,250kg
  2. An exemption from operator licensing requirements for similar alternatively fuelled vans used for own account haulage only
  3. Correct a regulatory anomaly, which means that electric vans are currently exempt from MOT testing

Government confirmed on the 29th March they are going to relax these regulatory restrictions, allowing Category B licence holders to operate an alternatively fuelled LCV up to a maximum weight of 4.25tonnes.
This decision combines with the recent decision to allow an exemption from HGV Operator Licencing for alternatively-fuelled vehicles up to 4.25 tonnes, that are not used internationally – released in December 2017. This decision also corrected the regulatory anomaly and confirmed these vehicles would need to be subject to a MOT testing regime.
Government sent in a request for a temporary derogation to the European Union, which would be subject to a 5 year trial period. In May 2018, the EU sent their response confirming the UK may authorise the driving of alternatively fuelled vans with a category B driving licence with the following conditions;

  • The authorisation only applies to electric, natural gas and biogas, hydrogen and hydrogen-hybrid vehicles for the transport of goods without towing a trailer. These vehicles will have a maximum authorised weight above 3,500 kilograms but not exceeding 4,250 kilograms
  • The authorisation shall only apply until 4th May 2023 at the latest
  • The authorised vehicles shall not be driven outside of the United Kingdom
  • The driving of these vehicles shall only be authorised to category B licence holders who have also completed a minimum of 5 hours training on the driving of vehicles exceeding 3,500 kilograms. The contents of which should be determined by the United Kingdom’s authorities in consultation with the commission

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Last updated 26th June 2018