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December 12 2018
By Tim Deakin

Tim is Editor of routeone and has worked in both the coach and bus and haulage industries.

Trailer registration is to be required post-Brexit

Coaches travelling to most of Europe will be subject to rule from 28 March 2019, the DfT confirms

Operators towing trailers into Europe need to register them from March

Commercial trailers with a GVW of over 750kg that are towed by coaches into most continental European countries will need to be registered separately from the towing vehicle from 28 March if the UK leaves the European Union.

The requirement applies to trailers travelling to or through all countries that have ratified the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic.

Among those that have are France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and all Scandinavian nations, but not Spain.

As of the date, trailers will be required to display their own registration plate – made up of one letter and seven numbers – along with the number carried by the towing vehicle.

But lots still to do...

As yet, there is no way for UK operators to register trailers with DVLA. The agency says that it will be possible from January 2019. Foreign authorities may require that the Trailer Registration Certificate be presented if the vehicle is stopped.

The government will introduce the Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act 2018 to allow the necessary steps to be undertaken for UK operators to comply.

It says that, should no deal on Brexit be reached, other EU countries “may be more likely to enforce the trailer registration requirements,” although registration will be mandatory regardless of whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal. Trailers that are used solely within the UK, or on journeys between the UK and Ireland, will not need to be registered.

Ski and ‘band bus’ considerations

“This requirement is likely to affect those coach operators that carry out ski work. It is also likely to be a consideration for those that run ‘band buses’,” says Confederation of Passenger Transport Operational and Technical Executive John Taylor.

“The registration certificate will last for 10 years. DVLA is currently setting up the necessary systems to allow trailer registration; the only thing that remains to be clarified is whether the trailer plate needs to be lit at times of darkness.”

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