The upshot was that Ken was made to leave his caravan, although he is entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up to a combined weight of eight and a quarter tons and on this occasion his total vehicles weight was under seven and a half tons. Nevertheless we were eventually allowed to continue to the show ground where I left my caravan and then returned to fetch Ken's. No great harm done save a delay of well over an hour and the consequent inconvenience of having to put awnings up in the rain as the weather had deteriorated.
Mr VOSA really was not clear as to the meaning of the symbols on the back of the licence as he told me that because my licence has C1E on it that I did not have the appropriate entitlement although it also has CE clearly printed on it and had only just been renewed following my annual medical.
The fundamental question here is what one's entitlement actually is ???
The classes of both vehicles and weights of vehicle trailer combinations you are legally licenced to drive depend on when you passed your test and on your medical fitness. For the older amongst us, who passed their test say in the sixties, in the heady days before the introduction of HGV licences let alone a separate HGV test; at a time when to legally drive any lorry you only needed to pass your driving test in a car and then, at twenty-one, the world became your oyster. HGV licences came later, issued in a smart black gold embossed hard backed booklet but no further test was required providing the "grand father's rights" exemption could be met, indeed I had a class 2 licence as a result and only acquired my group 1 qualification in the early eighties, now known as CE. If a test was taken back then what can now be driven?
The right to upgrade to the old class 1, 2 or 3 HGV licence has long expired but my understanding is that the entitlement to drive a vehicle and trailer up to the combined weight of 8.25 tons, with no specific limit as to the trailer's weight, remains but this was not Mr VOSA's contention. He merely inspected the vehicle's ministry plate giving the gross weight of the towing vehicle and the MVW on the caravan's drawbar added the two together and as these were 7.5 tons and 1.4 tons pronounced judgement making 8.9 tons. The C1E licence, according to him, only permits a trailer weight of up to 750 kgs whatever the actual weight of the towing vehicle. This does seem a nonsense when one can legally tow the same caravan behind a car but not behind a small lorry even if the combined weight of the two does not exceed 8.25 tons.
This problem needs to be sorted as it affects several members and I have written to Ian Edmunds of the Federation of British Federation of Historic Vehicle Clubs who has in the past given guidance on DVLA matters for definitive advice on this issue. As space precludes its inclusion here the text of the letter may be seen on our Website, I will report the outcome as soon as it is to hand.