FBHVC Legislation

Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC)


The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs exists to maintain our freedom to use Yesterday’s Vehicles on Tomorrow’s Roads. Additionally we encourage the preservation and promotion of all types of vehicle within the broader context of our national heritage.

It does this by representing the interests of owners of such vehicles to politicians, government officials, and legislators both in UK and (through membership of Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens) in Europe.

FBHVC is a company limited by guarantee, registered number 3842316, and was founded in 1988.

There are nearly 500 subscriber organisations representing a total membership of over 250,000 in addition to individual and trade supporters.

Reference: Newsletter No. 1 - 2019


Traditionally this is the time of the year when commentators in newspapers and TV and radio do lots of crystal ball gazing and make sweeping predictions about what our future will look like. The pace of global warming, the increase in frequency of natural disasters and the impact of international travel on the likelihood of pandemics… you know the sort of thing. It’s almost like all the journalists are on holiday so there isn’t any real news.

None of these themes are particularly optimistic either… you’ve all had your jolly time over the Christmas holiday now let’s bring you back to earth with a very large bump! Unfortunately this phenomenon has also inflicted itself on our own little historic vehicle world. Articles and features have abounded on environmental pressures, government drives towards the zero carbon economy and dwindling reserves that threaten the very fuel we need to pursue our hobby. Every day brings with it emails announcing new low emission zones that will restrict our freedom of access on the highway and the pressure to develop and introduce autonomous vehicles. The prognosis is really quite depressing.

Then suddenly a feature dropped on my desk which caused the black clouds to rapidly evaporate.  The Mail on Sunday visited a very chilly Bicester Heritage for the year’s first Scramble. They were not alone. The public turned out on a bleak January Sunday in numbers… 7,000 to be exact! The paper waxed lyrical about the rude health of the historic vehicle community. Quoting profusely from FBHVC research, they noted the benefits to the economy and employment.

Interviewed for the article, Managing Director and co-founder of Bicester Heritage, Daniel Geogehan was also suitably upbeat. He talked about the rapid development of the site, the fact that demand for premises outstripped supply by a factor of ten, and that businesses on the site had grown their turnover several times over. He also talked about plans having gained permission not only to build new workshops but also a luxury hotel. I recall dining with Daniel quite soon after the acquisition of the derelict site from the MoD some 6 years ago. He laid out his vision for a ‘centre of excellence’, a cluster of businesses operating in a collegiate atmosphere. A place where traditional craftsmanship and skills could be taught and utilised. I was deeply impressed if a little sceptical. That he should have achieved this vision in so short a space of time is truly very impressive and not a little heart- warming.

So if you are feeling all doom and gloom, dreading the day when you can no longer simply jump in the car (or bike, bus, etc) but have only a soulless journey in an autonomous pod to look forward to, think of Bicester Heritage and feel the clouds lift.

(The Mail on Sunday article referred to in this editorial can be read on that newspaper’s Money supplement website)

Geoff Lancaster


Legislation & Fuels Bob Owen

Environmental Issues

Work towards the introduction of Low Emission or Clean Air Zones continues to develop, though as yet the only area in the UK where the interests of our members generally are affected is London. We have generally achieved an exclusion for our vehicles which are in the ‘historic ‘ taxation class, the course favoured by public authorities as it is easy to identify these vehicles using ANPR cameras, which are the almost universal intended enforcement method.

But the Federation does recognise that a fair number of vehicles, and in particular motorcycles, which their owners regard as ‘classic’, but which are less than forty years old, will be affected. This will for instance, be clearly the case when the London ULEZ is extended to just inside the North and South Circular Roads in 2021.

And the use of NPR cameras does create issues for the drivers of foreign historic vehicles, which cannot readily be recognised by ANPR cameras. This is already causing concern to the authorities administering ULEZs. I have not as yet heard of an easy solution and indeed I do not know how Transport for London is proposing to deal with the matter, which I know they recognise, when the ULEZ starts up on 8 April.

But a significant number of other cities are well advanced in their planning. Some, such as Glasgow, have announced potential commencement dates.

The Federation is working hard to try to maintain a level of consistency across the country, and particularly among the nations of Great Britain. This is not being helped by each of England, Scotland and Wales producing their own templates which are not necessarily similar in their philosophy and approach either generally or to historic vehicles.

In Scotland, for instance, it is proposed that vehicles will be excluded and a penalty imposed, not allowed to operate in the Zone subject to payment of a charge.

And Manchester seems to be regarding their proposed charge as a penalty for a breach, not an exercise of a right. This makes the issue of what is a ‘historic’ vehicle all the more important, as a ban makes the keeping of a non-exempt vehicle within a zone almost impossible, even if the penalty being imposed is clearly a civil, not criminal, one.

There tends to be a local consultation before any zone is introduced. But that is just the problem; the consultations are local. We have, as I mentioned in the last edition, been having some difficulty getting information about when consultations commence, and have made a number of last-minute responses which is less than ideal.

So can I emphasise the point I made last time; if any member anywhere becomes aware of a consultation commencing for a zone in their area, do no assume we already know. Please do contact Emma with the information. We really would prefer to be told a hundred times about a consultation than to miss it completely! And if you happen to know exactly the link to the consultation and can pass it to us, so much the better.

As Zones progressively come into force it may be that Governmental organisations will attempt to create a common information site or sites to enable drivers around the country to know where they are and what they cover. If not, the Federation will be attempting to establish how they affect historic vehicles, when their restrictions apply (e.g. all the time or just on weekdays) and to hold a database for members of UK Zones in force.

I am also starting to receive questions about the existence and limitations of zones, not only in the UK but around Europe.

Sadly, it really does not seem to have yet occurred to our various ruling bodies that while an LEZ is local in effect and perhaps of most relevance to the residents of the area it covers, once it exists, by the very nature of travel, there is a need to make the information available to travellers from outside the area before they come to the boundary signs.

So there is as yet no consolidated list of Zones in Europe where they are now becoming established, nor, as far as I am aware, a conscious recognition of the need for such a list to cover the zones which will, in the next two years, become established in several urban areas in the UK. I am sure this need will become recognised. Indeed there may be a commercial opening for a sort of ‘Bradshaw’ Guide to LEZs and CAZs around Europe.

We tried at the outset to provide some guidance to those who asked if we knew about the restrictions in specific zones (Paris is an obvious favourite). But I can assure everyone that the time involved in establishing facts from various zones is simply not there, given our other priorities. FIVA’s Legislation Commission does recognise the need for a repository of data and we will be discussing it next month. But meanwhile we cannot at the moment point members to any wholly reliable data on the various restrictions which are developing. This is frustrating.

MoT Exemption

As you know, the Federation has argued that the DVLA process for enabling declaration of a vehicle as not being significantly changed at the time of re-licensing only was one which could put drivers at risk of bureaucratic misunderstanding and leave them at risk from ill-briefed policemen.

Well, we became aware that a real example had arisen and that the driver of a historic vehicle had received a Notice of Prosecution. The Federation urgently sought clarification of the position form the Department for Transport. We are glad to confirm that they responded promptly and positively and have provided us with the statement we copy here, which we think sets out the position clearly and succinctly and will be of real use to our members.  It may be that members who have concerns about this will wish to carry a copy of the DfT Statement in the vehicle.

We are still unhappy that the Vehicle Enquiry Service cannot show an accurate MOT status even after the registered keeper has filled in a Form V112 or checked the declaration page during online licensing. Currently it simply says, if the vehicle does not have an MOT, that no MOT information is available.

Roadworthiness Testing of Historic HGV’s

I mentioned last time that we were going to support our members with heavy goods vehicles built between 1960 and forty years ago in reversing the decision by the Minister responsible to deny to their vehicles the entitlement to the exemption from roadworthiness testing permitted under the Directive and offered to the other classes of vehicles. While we recognise the reasons which may have led to this decision by Government, it is the view of the Historic Commercial Vehicle Society that the statistics do not support this position and that their vehicles have an excellent safety record, as evidenced by their extremely low insurance rates. Their position was put by the Federation to MPs and Peers at the first All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group meeting of the year.

We will be encouraging HCVS to undertake their own campaign as well, and would hope to be able to support that campaign as it develops.

Registration & Licensing

We also advised the APPHVG members of our concerns at the apparent rigidity in DVLA regarding the registration of some types of vehicles. While there are probably not a great many actual cases, we are concerned that the current process in DVLA may make ‘difficult’ cases even harder to solve.

There is however one glimmer of hope. We have received an indication from DVLA, following extensive pressure from us since they announced at the end of 2017 that no ‘appeal’ against a Q Plate would be considered more than 12 months after issue, that they will after all consider ‘genuine‘ applications for substitution of a Q Plate submitted later.

As we have been arguing only for the change in cases where the actual identity and date of the vehicle is now indeed clear, this is good news, and I will be looking at establishing the detail of this offer over the next few weeks with a view to advising members who think they may benefit from this change how they should proceed.

Insurance: The Effect of Vnuk

As this edition is going to press, we have received sight of the proposed amendments to the EU Motor Insurance Directive to deal with concerns about competitive motoring and the possibility of vehicles on SORN (and other national equivalents) having to be insured even though immobile. Unfortunately I have become aware of these too soon before publication date to offer any useful comments at the moment, other than the fact that it is obvious our comments are being taken account of by at least some of the MEPs considering the matter.

And Finally

I would have hoped that by now it would be possible to offer some predictions as to where our legislative procedures on traffic and matters related to vehicles would be in the light of the Referendum. But at this point I simply cannot. Whatever one’s views on the subject of leaving or remaining in the EU, this is very frustrating. So we must await developments before we can predict what is going to happen to the laws and regulations which govern historic vehicles in the UK for just a bit longer.


FBHVC Vacancy Legislation Director

Our Legislation Director, Bob Owen, is retiring in October 2019 and we are now seeking applications from potential candidates who have broad, all round relevant experience.

The Federation is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and legislation has always been a cornerstone of our activities. We currently represent over 500 clubs, museums, independent and trade supporters. A collective membership of over 250,000 enthusiasts. As the umbrella organisation for the historic vehicle movement in the UK and representative of the Fédération International des Véhicules Anciens (FIVA) for our geographical territory it is essential we demonstrate the highest standards in our interactions with government, their agencies and non-governmental organisations.

The Legislation Director is responsible, with the support of our secretary and his committee for monitoring all UK legislation, rules and procedures which are pertinent to historic vehicles. He or she manages and controls responses to government departments in Westminster, Edinburgh and Cardiff and to local authorities. These departments are primarily the Department for Transport and its agencies, DVLA and DVSA. The job holder is also supported by a DVLA Liaison Manager.

The Legislation Director would normally be a member of the Legislation Commission of FIVA providing the opportunity to understand and influence the historic vehicle movement internationally.

As a director of the Federation the successful candidate would join the existing Board of nine Directors and contribute to the leadership and future direction of the Federation at this exciting time as extend our research, skills development and heritage agendas. This is a voluntary role but all out of pocket expenses will be reimbursed.

If you would like to be considered or have questions please contact either Bob Owen at legislationdirector@fbhvc.co.uk or our Chairman, David Whale, at chairman@fbhvc.co.uk



DVLA Ian Edmunds

For some time we have been advising that when a foreign registration document is submitted to DVLA as evidence of date of manufacture or original registration in support of an application for a first registration of an imported vehicle it must be the original not a copy and that it will not be returned. The reason for this being that DVLA has reciprocal arrangements with their counterparts in other countries for the return of their documents. However, we have recently learned that the situation is in fact a little more complex.

It is true that reciprocal arrangements do exist but not with all countries, or, indeed, in one instance, not with all of a particular country. Where such arrangements exist, it remains the case that the relevant documents cannot be returned to the applicant and all the applicant can do to preserve the historic record of their vehicle is to take a copy before sending the original to DVLA. Conversely with documents originally issued by countries with whom no such agreement exists DVLA have stated that if requested they will return registration documents to the applicant.

Two lists appear below this article, one is of countries with whom DVLA DO have reciprocal arrangements and the other is of the States of the USA with whom such arrangements exist. Note, this is not all of the 50 States.

On a related subject we have been receiving reports that DVLA were refusing to accept original Polish registration documents in support of first registration applications. DVLA have assured us that this is not policy. Originals of Polish documents continue to be acceptable but as Poland is one of the countries with a reciprocal agreement they cannot be returned to the applicant.

It is unfortunately the case that we have several apparently straightforward issues that were raised with DVLA towards the end of last year to which we have not as yet received reasoned responses which fully address the issues raised. I will of course report on the outcomes as soon as I am able. Additionally some longer standing matters such as the registration of vehicles originally supplied in CKD form remain unresolved. All I can add at the moment is that the Federation has not given up and neither will it!

Reciprocal Countries - List of countries can be in FBHVC Newsletter 1 - 2019 on this link

Reproduced with kind permission of FBHVC


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