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Clarification on the definition of "motor caravan"

Evan Lavelle made this Freedom of Information request to Department for Transport

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Dear Department for Transport,

I would be grateful if you could let me know how you define a "Motor caravan" for the purposes of Schedule 6 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 ("Speed Limits for Vehicles of Certain Classes").

In particular, how do you determine whether a vehicle is a motor caravan or a goods vehicle?

A goods vehicle is subject to reduced speed limits as shown in Section 6, while a motor caravan (if it has an unladen weight not exceeding 3.05 tonnes and has not been adapted to carry more than 8 passengers) is not.

Schedule 6 Part IV Item 2 states that:

(1) a "goods vehicle" has the same meaning as in Section 192(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 ("a motor vehicle constructed or adapted for use for the carriage of goods"); and

(2) a "motor caravan" has the same meaning as in Regulation 2(1) of the Motor Vehicles (Type Approval) (Great Britain) Regulations 1979 ("a motor vehicle which is constructed or adapted for the carriage of passengers and their effects and which contains, as permanently installed equipment, the facilities which are reasonably necessary for enabling the vehicle to provide mobile living accommodation for its users").

This seems clear, but it is generally understood that the Police and ANPR equipment do not use this definition of a motor caravan, and instead rely on the Body Type classification recorded in the V5C document. However, if this is the case, it is clearly incorrect, and I would be grateful for your clarification.

Note that:

(1) The DVLA guidance on converting a vehicle into a motor caravan at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

clearly states that "The body type does not affect the insurance category of the vehicle, or have any effect on speed limits or other legislative requirements"

(2) The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 contains no reference to a body type classification, or the V5C

(3) The DVLA body type classification of a motor caravan is far more restrictive, particularly in terms of external appearance, than the definition in paragraph 5.1 of Part A of Annex II to the Framework Directive, which is used in other legislation to define a "motor caravan" (The Road vehicles (Approval) Regulations 2009, for example). This is a recent change, and has made it impossible for a large number of self-build and professional converters to re-classify as motor caravans.

Yours faithfully,

Evan Lavelle

Dear Mr Lavelle

Thank you for your e-mail requesting information. The DVLA are dealing with your request under the terms of The Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Your request has been given reference number: FOIR8398.

You should expect to receive a reply to your request by 19 May.

If you have any further questions or enquiries on this request please quote the reference number.

Regards

Freedom Of Information
Strategy, Policy & Communications Directorate | C2W | DVLA | Swansea | SA6 7JL
Twitter: @dvlagovuk
We can always spot an untaxed car. Tax it or lose it.
Go to www.gov.uk/vehicletax
Twitter: @dvlagovuk  |  Facebook: dvlagovuk  |  YouTube: dvlagov

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Dear FOI,

Thank you for submitting this request. However, it seems to me that the DVLA may not be the appropriate authority to submit this request to.

The request concerns the enforcement of speed limits, and whether those responsible for enforcement have correctly interpreted Schedule 6 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. This does not appear to be within the remit of the DVLA.

Schedule 6 references a definition of "motor caravan" which is clearly different from the DVLA's own definition of "motor caravan". However, the DVLA use their own definition only in the context of a V5C "body type", and clearly states (in the link I referenced) that this is unrelated to speed limits.

Given this, I suspect that this is a matter for the DfT, not the DVLA.

Yours sincerely,

Evan Lavelle

Dear Mr Lavelle

Thank you for your response your original request was emailed to DfT but as DfT do not hold this information they have forwarded your request to the DVLA. I have sent the FOI request to the relevant team if the request cannot be answered by the DVLA we will advise and assist where the information can be found.

Hope this is helpful

Regards

Freedom Of Information
Strategy, Policy & Communications Directorate | C2W | DVLA | Swansea | SA6 7JL
Twitter: @dvlagovuk

We can always spot an untaxed car. Tax it or lose it.
Go to www.gov.uk/vehicletax
Twitter: @dvlagovuk  |  Facebook: dvlagovuk  |  YouTube: dvlagov

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Helen Grech, Department for Transport

1 Attachment

Dear Evan Lavelle

 

Thank you for your email below to the Department for Transport about the
definition of a motor caravan for the purposes of determining vehicle
speeds.  I have been asked to respond as my team deals with this policy
area.

 

As I hope you will appreciate, I must first point out that the Department
is unable to give a definitive interpretation of the meaning and scope of
any legislation as this is ultimately a matter for the courts to
determine.  You may therefore wish to consider taking your own legal
advice on the matter.  I can, however, provide you with the Department's
view. 

 

I can confirm that the speed of your vehicle is not connected to the body
type on your V5C registration form.

 

I have been informed by DVLA that all campervans, motor caravans and motor
homes fall into the DVLA body type category of ‘motor caravan’. The body
type information held on the DVLA’s records must describe what a vehicle
actually looks like.  If the exterior of the vehicle does not look like a
motor caravan, DVLA will be unable to change the body type.   However,
vehicle keepers are still able to use the vehicle as a motor caravan
provided any alterations made do not compromise the vehicle’s safety.

 

While DVLA say the policy relating to the allocation of body types has not
changed, following customer feedback they will be reviewing the
information provided on GOV.UK so that customers have greater clarity
about the information they need and the actions they need to take when
converting a vehicle to a motor caravan.

 

Turning to the issue of speed limits for your vehicle; the national speed
limits for different categories of road vehicle depend on how the vehicle
is configured for use on the road.  As you know, the legislation
applicable is the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, Schedule 6 which lists
vehicle types which are restricted to speeds below the national speed
limits.

 

The Department for Transport has produced guidance on the various speed
limits on the gov.uk website (link below), which includes advice on motor
caravans:

 

[1]https://www.gov.uk/speed-limits

 

As you will see, a motor caravan that exceeds 3.05 tonnes unladen weight
is restricted to lower speeds than the national limits i.e. 70 mph on
motorways; 60 mph on dual carriageways; 50 mph on single-carriageways,
unless locally marked. If you draw a trailer (or trailers) of any type
then lower limits apply.

 

If your motor caravan does not exceed 3.05 tonnes unladen weight, then it
is not restricted to lower speeds than the national limits and can travel
at the same speed limit as a car.

 

I assume that your vehicle has been converted to meet the definition of a
motor caravan (useful link given below); so as such would need to comply
with the speed limit for this type of vehicle (i.e. motor caravan)
dependent on its weight; regardless of what information is on the V5C
form.

 

[2]https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

 

Please note that motor caravans which carry goods or burden not directly
necessary for the purpose of living in the vehicle, would be classed as
goods vehicles and subject to current goods vehicle requirements for speed
limits.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Kind regards,

 

Helen

 

[3][IMG]          Helen Grech 
Policy Advisor, Freight: Vehicle Speeds, Drivers’ Hours
and Enforcement 

3rd Floor, Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road, London, SW1P 4DR  

       
[4]Follow us on twitter @transportgovuk 

NB: I work part-time; four days a week. I do not work
on Friday

 

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