Well this might be of interest to Richard
I've already been pointed towards the gov.uk site on that and have to admit, like most of the stuff on there, it is as clear as mud and, as I have found in the past, I still seem to fall through the gaps. It says if I use a car and trailer between 2.5 and 3.5 tonnes gross train weight, I need to add it to my Goods Vehicle Operators Licence. Only problem is, when I enquired earlier this year to see what I needed to do to shift cars on a trailer between UK and EU, I was told that because I was under 7.5 tonnes, I couldn’t get, an Operators Licence. The important part, I was told, is the word Goods. I don’t have a goods vehicle, I have a private car. I was however told that I would need an EORI (Economic Operator Registration and Identification) number so applied for one (it’s free so may as well). Only to find that is only needed if I am doing Customs declarations which I don’t as I am not carrying goods for commercial purposes but personal property. When I took a car over a couple of weeks ago, I was stopped in Calais on my way out by French Customs (first time I've ever even seen someone from French Customs on my way out!). I told them the car had come over to England for work to be done to it and I was returning to the owner who had a house in France. As it was UK registered, they considered it a temporary import, I had to complete a form which was actually marked as confirmation of an oral declaration. It has a space at the bottom for the owner to get the bit of paper stamped within 6 months when he brings it back to the UK otherwise he will be asked to pay duty on it and register it in France. This has always been the case with temporary imports either into or out of UK, irrespective of Brexit, otherwise how could you go on holiday in a private car without exporting it and re-importimg it (which Customs call a repatriation rather than an import)? Nearer the time I’ll give them a call and see what has changed and if there is anything I need to do differently. If they feel I need an Operators licence, then I also need a transport manager. Someone who has experience of looking after a fleet for at least 10 years. That’ll be me then. I've been planning my own routes and arrange my own maintenance for over 15 years, so why not?
As for the Covid rules, they change by the week. I went over on Friday 3rd to deliver the above mentioned car and collect another which has been over there since before lockdown started. The owner had driven it to his house in the Charente region but a suspension arm had broken so he had left it there and flown home. He had been over recently with a new arm with the intention of getting it fitted there and driving it back, but realised that due to the delays while there were travel restrictions, the MoT had run out so asked me to collect it on a trailer rather than risk driving it with no MoT. From the previous Wednesday (1st Dec) there had been news stories about France wanting a negative test before they would let you in. While a lot of news outlets covered the story, only one said it would come in from Saturday 4th although there was nothing at all on either the UK or French Government websites. When I checked in at Dover, I asked the (very helpful for a change) French immigration man if it was correct that from the following day travellers would need a test (as I would be coming back on the 6th but going out again on the 9th for a trip to the Strasbourg Christmas market). His answer was he didn’t know, he said that there had been talk about it but these decisions are made in Paris and they don’t bother telling the people that are supposed to be doing the checks. He said he’d probably be told at 9am on Saturday that he should have been checking from midnight…..
I wonder what the situation will be in mid-January when we may be driving to Dina’s parent in Latvia if nothing has changed by then? She’s an EU passport holder (Latvian) and I am her partner (which gives slightly more rights than a UK passport holder when entering France) and while we will be entering France we will only be there for the 30 minutes or so it takes to get to the Belgian border. There is an exemption of up to 24 hours if you are transiting through at an airport but what about if transiting by road? Or does it mean we have to use the Stena Harwich to Hook of Holland ferry and bypass France? Don’t really want to as the Stena ferry is more expensive than my P&O season ticket (which I have just renewed with another 5 returns so have already paid for the crossing) and while it saves a couple of hours driving time, it’s a 7 hour crossing so adds considerably to the overall journey time.
I've spent a bloody fortune in Covid tests in the last few weeks as it is but at least they are coming down in cost.