Changes to Trailer Licensing Announced

The UK Government has confirmed that as of yesterday (16 December 2021) the regulations surrounding trailer tests and licensing have changed.

Under the new regulations, drivers that passed their car driving test from 1 January 1997 are now allowed to tow trailers up to 3,500kg MAM.

The DVLA will update driving licence records for all those the change applies to - category BE will also be added to photocard driving licenses when renewed to show that you are allowed to tow trailers. Read more about driving license categories at  

Members do not need to contact DVLA for this to happen. It will be done automatically. If you passed your car driving test before 1 January 1997, you are not affected by the change.

NFU Scotland recommends that members still seek to take part in training before towing for health and safety reasons.

Commenting on the announcement NFU Scotland’s Transport Advisor Jamie Smart said: “NFU Scotland are pleased that the uncertainty over trailer licensing has been resolved and as of the 16 of December 2021 anyone who holds a category B (car license) will also be entitled to tow a trailer up to 3500 kg subject to the towing vehicles towing capacity.

“This entitlement will be added automatically when a license is renewed but a driver does not need to wait until this happens for the entitlement to take effect. NFU Scotland strongly advise that anyone who intends to tow a trailer behind their car or pickup undertakes appropriate training as this will improve road safety as well as ensuring compliance with health and safety legislation. Full guidance on the regulation change is available on the government website.”


Contact Ruth Oxborrow on 07823 556253


Author: Ruth Oxborrow

Date Published:

News Article No.: 159/21

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Walter H Douglas

158 days ago

Is this just a temporary dispensation? What happens when tests are reintroduced - will the changes to licences be permanent for those who qualify for this dispensation etc? I think it may have been prudent to only give the dispensation to those over 21yo ie when they have had a bit of driving experience rather than allowing 17y olds to pull trailers up to 3.5t.
Bryan Stout

153 days ago

It is generally accepted within the Agricultural, Haulage and Associated Industries, driving competence and machinery operations are instilled at pre-school. By the time young operators can 'reach the pedals', it's drummed into them they must be responsible and use all machinery with maturity. This training puts them in a different league compared to private individuals. While many will be welcome the new trailer regulations, the consequences of sharing the highways with novice drivers, is of great concern. The nightmare of first time trailer driver, at 50 mph on a wet night, with questionable pick-up and 3 tonnes behind, let loose because the law says he can. This assumes the driver knows what 3 tonnes looks like! This was never part of the well meaning 'help the industry' plan! Insurance Companies, terrified at the potential losses with unregulated usage, will insist on additional premiums and conditions. Work out any scenarios yourselves, but I suspect one well intended step forward could end up two unintended steps back. Most Agricultural and Haulage related businesses probably use a relatively small nucleus of insurances providers. NFUS Members and the wider industry, would be well advised to consider arrangements where premiums are based on their employee competence. This could generate some distance from the skill set of the private sector and the potential financial consequences involved. BS
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