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Using vans and car and trailers over 2.5 tonnes to transport goods in Europe from 21 May 2022


Simon Lewis
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Don't think I have seen this mentioned here before...

Seems that from the 21st May, if you are driving a van or car and trailer with a MAM over 2.5t (up to 3.5t) for hire or reward in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, you will need a standard international goods vehicle operator licence.

The application requirements won't be quite as onerous as for vehicles over 3.5t, but to apply, you will still need to have a transport manager with CPC, the correct financial standing and (as far as I can see) a fitted tachograph and follow driver's hours etc.

I suspect that small tours, transporting goods etc. will be somewhat hit by this added cost and restrictions...

Transport goods in Europe in vans or car and trailers from 21 May 2022

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A tour manager driving a van for a band might well come under the latter though. Or perhaps even a tech with their own gear plus the band's backline.

Fancy arguing that in a foreign language on the kerbside at 3am when you're trying to get to the next gig?

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The rules are better described as "personal possessions" - if you're carrying professional equipment that can't be ONLY used by you or anyone else's items then it falls under the commercial driving regulations and as noted requires Taco's, drivers hours logs (and the working hours of a typical tour manager-driver will be waaaaay outside legal limits) and appropriate commercial insurance alongside all the carnet et-al paperwork required if you're crossing any boarders.

 

 

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Tom, what about the line between direct and indirect hire or reward? My reading is that if you have a van load of lights and then use them to earn they become hire or reward even if you don't get paid or get expenses to transport them. It doesn't matter if they can only be used by you, any payment in cash or kind makes it hire or reward.

It gets so complex just in the UK that school minibus use is not affected for charitable schools but in fee-paying schools it becomes hire or reward. Our authorities might ignore this stuff but right across the EU there are guys whose sole purpose in life is to out-jobsworth the Germans. 

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I should have emboldened the "hire and reward" part, but yes - this doesn't apply when carrying own goods (although other rules may well apply!).

However, as Jon surmises, proving that you are not working for hire or reward may well be problematic. Also, the sort of events or tours that would opt for and work with a small van are probably not going to easily fit within the drivers hours regs...
 

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56 minutes ago, ImagineerTom said:

The rules are better described as "personal possessions" - if you're carrying professional equipment that can't be ONLY used by you or anyone else's items then it falls under the commercial driving regulations

How does this distinction apply to, say, a console hired for the tour, that the band engineer is carrying? It's been booked for that engineer's specific use, but it's obviously conceivable that if he fell ill, someone else would jump on to keep the show happening. 

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2 hours ago, Stuart91 said:

How does this distinction apply to, say, a console hired for the tour, that the band engineer is carrying? It's been booked for that engineer's specific use, but it's obviously conceivable that if he fell ill, someone else would jump on to keep the show happening. 

Might that be a conceivable defence in a prosecution - yes, will that stop you getting stopped, fined and kit confiscated because on the face of it you are breaking the law; no.

If you're using your vehicle to transport someone else's kit then your insurance has to include that provision otherwise you're not insured; there is no legal obligation / defence of "the show must go on" so if you're using a personal (or personally insured) vehicle to transport someone else's kit then you're uninsured and breaking the law. If your vehicle is insured to carry other people's kit, the police stop you and you've got a load of kit in it that you try to argue is your personal items they're going to be questioning why you've taken out extra European insurance cover for "other people's kit" if that's not what you're doing.

As to the question about who "owns" a rented desk that's rented in your own name... well if you're transporting it from gig to gig then it is part of your job and you are transporting goods for hire or reward; if it's not part of your job then why didn't you send it with a courier? There's basically no answer to this question thread that doesn't turn into you achieving some sort of reward (note "reward" not "cash" is the used word quite deliberately) so you're screwed.

The definition of exactly what is "your" kit is also interpreted differently everywhere; here in the UK VOSA have tried to argue that anything that couldn't ONLY be used by you would be considered as theoretically someone else's kit and you would have to take it to court to prove it was yours and yours alone. IE if your trailer is full of "Fred Smith's wizzy whirly merry-go-round" kit and weird looking tools for assembling that merry-go-round AND you are Fred Smith then it's probably going to be classified as personal goods. If on the other hand your trailer is full of generic tools (especially multiples) then they take the view its not exclusively yours and that you could be trying to get cheap insurance / skirt the law by classifying it as your own stuff whilst actually running a secret man and van service. Thus you get the fine and impounding and have to fight it in court. Different vehicle regulatory bodies all over Europe have historically all taken slightly different views.

Just to complicate things further; getting a VISA to work as a sound engineer (for example) might not also give you permission to "work" as a driver moving the desk from gig to gig so even if you have the right operators license, have the right insurance depending on the wording and terms of the visa you have you could still be breaking road traffic laws because you're not legally allowed to work as a driver. Over the next few years as the visas get created and harmonised this will be less of a problem but it shouldn't be forgotten that right now the UK has very new, very basic visa agreements and definitions with Europe that simply cannot cope with the fringe-cases that the entertainment industry predominantly presents.

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14 hours ago, Stuart91 said:

How does this distinction apply to, say, a console hired for the tour, that the band engineer is carrying? It's been booked for that engineer's specific use, but it's obviously conceivable that if he fell ill, someone else would jump on to keep the show happening. 

Well that's not a question that any mainland UK court decision could answer in terms of this regulation. My own simplistic view has always been that hire or reward' applies in the case of any journey only made where there is some contract either implied or written involved irrespective of the ownership of the vehicle of contents which is why I have alwsys had business cover on the car. (Over the years I have argued the toss with all sorts of vintage vehicle exhibitors who think the mere absence of a cash payment means this doesn't apply. But it seems to me that the courts could have a fine old time with this in the case of a steam engine loaded with free coal going home from the show which issued it that then has an accident.)   Keeping the show on the road as above is not any more of a defence really than leaping onto the seat of an 18 tonner without an HGV licence to keep the show on the road. 

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6 hours ago, Junior8 said:

Well that's not a question that any mainland UK court decision could answer in terms of this regulation. My own simplistic view has always been that hire or reward' applies in the case of any journey only made where there is some contract either implied or written involved irrespective of the ownership of the vehicle of contents which is why I have alwsys had business cover on the car. (Over the years I have argued the toss with all sorts of vintage vehicle exhibitors who think the mere absence of a cash payment means this doesn't apply. But it seems to me that the courts could have a fine old time with this in the case of a steam engine loaded with free coal going home from the show which issued it that then has an accident.)   Keeping the show on the road as above is not any more of a defence really than leaping onto the seat of an 18 tonner without an HGV licence to keep the show on the road. 

Right from the word go my first van (Ex SEEBoard Bedford CA) was taxed and insured as goods carrying, however we sometimes used an unmodified caravan as a control booth but towed that on a car as it would have doubled the price of the van tax disc and more than doubled the insurance. 1977 to 2019 all of my vehicles (including Mrs Sunrays fiesta/pug 105/205 etc) have been insured for goods carrying but excluded hire or reward as the insurance companies have a different interpretation to, and by agreement with, DVLA where personal goods is not classed as hire or reward even if on way to a paid job as long as job documentation does not refer to any delivery or delivery fee.

I've had one incident in the middle of the night with a drunk driver and police involvement, straight away the officer thought he was getting a collar on me too when he saw the PA system in the back of my Astra estate and read my insurance cert.

I was very pleased when the PLG category was introduced in mid 90's, it saved me a fortune as by the end I was running a van and 2 minibuses, one of which was taxed for towing, my tax disc cost dropped to less than a third, probably nearer to a quarter and my insurance to about half. Almost immediately tow bars were fitted to the others.

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I think we're in danger of "over thinking" this. We've been running vans and trucks into Europe for years on an "own goods" basis. Our Restricted Operators Licence means that we are unable to operate on a "Hire or Reward" basis which is charging other people for carrying their goods (ie a Haulier or Courier)

"Own Goods" should be defined as anything you're using for your production - even if it's sub-hired it doesn't matter. We've been stopped by DVSA in the UK, and the French equivalent on random checks, and not a problem.

Unless you're working as a courier or haulage company, you won't need an operators licence to run your van into Europe.

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The problem is that the rules and principles from before simply don't exist any more; there's an awful lot of legislation and principles that were grandfathered in when we were all members of the same club. Now we're not a member (and currently in the "3rd nation" category) not only do those old norms no longer exist but also, until new agreements are in place, we have the lowest ranking and least leeway so simply assuming it will be business as normal isn't a good idea. I'm speaking here not as an outside but as someone who has actively been involved in importing/exporting/transporting "showbiz" stuff post Brexit in and out of the continent over the past year and for much larger events going forwards. Far and away the biggest problem we encounter is that so many fringe elements of compliance and co-operation don't even have a tick box on the paperwork; let alone guidance notes and expertise; admittedly we are at the fringes of the already fringe showbusiness industry but none the less there are real frictions and problems because of the grey areas that currently sit where before there were well established process's.

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6 hours ago, ImagineerTom said:

The problem is that the rules and principles from before simply don't exist any more; there's an awful lot of legislation and principles that were grandfathered in when we were all members of the same club. Now we're not a member (and currently in the "3rd nation" category) not only do those old norms no longer exist but also, until new agreements are in place, we have the lowest ranking and least leeway so simply assuming it will be business as normal isn't a good idea. I'm speaking here not as an outside but as someone who has actively been involved in importing/exporting/transporting "showbiz" stuff post Brexit in and out of the continent over the past year and for much larger events going forwards. Far and away the biggest problem we encounter is that so many fringe elements of compliance and co-operation don't even have a tick box on the paperwork; let alone guidance notes and expertise; admittedly we are at the fringes of the already fringe showbusiness industry but none the less there are real frictions and problems because of the grey areas that currently sit where before there were well established process's.

The other big issue is that the customs staff at the borders in France, Netherlands and UK don't always seem to know what they should be doing when stamping a carnet.

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