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HomeFarming NewsTowing trailers: Do the new rules apply in Northern Ireland?
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a fifth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the company in 2015.
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Towing trailers: Do the new rules apply in Northern Ireland?

The UK government officially scrapped car trailer towing tests from Thursday, December 16th, 2021; however, these changes do not apply in Northern Ireland.

The Drivers Vehicles and Standards Agency announced on December 16th, 2021, that if you passed your car driving test from  January 1st, 1997, you are now allowed to tow trailers up to 3,500kg MAM.

All car drivers, who have passed their driving test since January 1st, 1997, can tow a trailer up to 3,500kg in weight without the need for a test.

In a statement, DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) confirmed that it would update driving licence records to reflect the changes.

A spokesperson said: “You do not need to contact DVLA for this to happen. It will be done automatically.”

“If you passed your car driving test before January 1st, 1997, you are not affected by the change.”

“You will get category BE added to your driving licence when you get a new photocard driving licence.”

Towing trailers Northern Ireland 

The UFU took to social media to remind its members that the change does not apply in Northern Ireland.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the farm group said:

“The Ulster Farmers’ Union wrote to Department of Infrastructure, Minister Mallon, to request the same change.”

“However, in her response, she outlined that she was not supportive of this change.”

The minister told the group that there are “no current plans to replicate these changes since testing is not seen as a significant reason for HGV driver shortages in NI”.

HGV driver shortage

As reported by us, scrapping trailer tests is one of a raft of measures the government has introduced to address the ongoing HGV driver shortage.

In doing so, it aims to free up examiner capacity and “streamline” the stages of tests required and trailer testing content.

Overall, its objective is to benefit the speed at which drivers gain licences and reduce “unnecessary” barriers in becoming qualified.

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