Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-12-10, 10:20
t4Chippy's Avatar
t4Chippy t4Chippy is offline
Barmy Army to the Darkest Side
Regional CoordinatorOfficial MemberVW TransporterModerator
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Taunton, Somerset
Posts: 28,635
Default new trailer laws???

have been speaking to folk about this teardrop trailer idea and have been told there is going to be new regulations brought in about them.

I want any trailer i build to be future proof so does anyone know the new regs or where i can find them

Thanks in advance
Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-10, 10:25
Mr Woodcraft's Avatar
Mr Woodcraft Mr Woodcraft is offline
Serial Poster
Help For HeroesI Support Cancer Research UK
Join Date: May 2008
Location: normally working at height...
Posts: 3,697
Default Re: new trailer laws???

there is some info here mate...

not sure if it's any help
Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-10, 10:55
t4Chippy's Avatar
t4Chippy t4Chippy is offline
Barmy Army to the Darkest Side
Regional CoordinatorOfficial MemberVW TransporterModerator
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Taunton, Somerset
Posts: 28,635
Default Re: new trailer laws???

just phoned the department for transport and they said there is no regulations on the net. You have to email these guys and they will send you the info.

Will post up any info for peoples future reference in due course

Thanks matt
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-10, 20:08
t4Chippy's Avatar
t4Chippy t4Chippy is offline
Barmy Army to the Darkest Side
Regional CoordinatorOfficial MemberVW TransporterModerator
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Taunton, Somerset
Posts: 28,635
Default Re: new trailer laws???

Just thought I'd post these up so people have a reliable resource. These have been sent to me by the Department of transport.

Advice for companies manufacturing trailers

Construction and Use, and Lighting Regulations

All trailers used on the road must comply with various rules. The two most pertinent regulations are listed in the attachment: GB Road vehicle regulations. To summarise, the trailer must be safe, in that it must be well-engineered so that it is not likely to fall apart or otherwise cause danger to other road users.

In addition from certain dates in the next few years, new trailers will need to be approved. That means that a government agency will need to sanction the design of new trailers before sales can begin.

Obtaining approval

Most trailers will need to be type approved. ‘Type approval’ is obtained from Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) and involves an assessment of certain aspects of the trailer design, inspection of a prototype and assessment of the production facility. This must all take place before production of the trailers starts.

Alternatively, specialised trailers built in low numbers can be assessed individually after they have been built. This is done by the Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA), under an Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) inspection. In this scenario every single trailer produced must be taken to a VOSA test station and inspected. For larger trailers, certain items (such as Brakes) will have to be tested by an independent party and documentary evidence of compliance obtained, before the trailer can be submitted to VOSA.

The choice of whether to use type approval or IVA is for the manufacturer, and should be made based on expected production volumes, expected markets (UK or overseas), costs of the schemes and other factors.

Brief details of the standards which apply

Small trailers – lights, reflectors and their installation, towing coupling and its installation, and brakes (if gross weight exceeds 750kg). In addition, the lights, tyres and towing coupling must be approved to European standards by the supplier and e-marked.

Large trailers (above 3500kg gross weight) - In addition to the items tested on small trailers, much more extensive brake testing requirements would apply, and depending on its size the trailer is likely to need side and rear under-run guards and spray suppression devices. If the trailer is fitted with axles that steer, a heater or specialised electronic equipment, then these would need to be tested.

Registration of trailers

Trailers in the UK are not registered with DVLA in the same way as cars are registered. However in the next few years new requirements for notification and record keeping will come into force.

Large trailers subject to annual test with VOSA

Currently a large trailer used to carry goods must be notified to VOSA at any time in its first year of use on public roads, for VOSA to issue a Ministry Plate. It will be added to the VOSA records and must be brought in for its first annual roadworthiness test and plating examination, before it is one year old.
During 2012 it will become mandatory for a large trailer to be notified to VOSA before it is used on the public road. (As an exception, a partly built trailer chassis can be towed to the place where a body will be mounted upon it or the build completed). As part of the notification procedure, VOSA will check the evidence that the vehicle is approved before issuing clearance to use the trailer. A trailer stopped by the side of the road which has not been cleared by VOSA to operate will be subject to enforcement action.

Other trailers

For trailers which are not subject to annual test, because they are small (under 3500kg gross weight) or not used to carry goods, it will be mandatory from October 2012 for the person retailing the trailer to the public to keep records of every trailer sold for 10 years, and these records must include details of the type approval Certificate of Conformity or Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) certificate which covers the trailer. It will be possible to use a third party to retain the data on the retailers behalf. It is envisaged that commercial companies will offer a register service to manufacturers and retailers, which may offer additional benefits throughout the life of the trailer. At present a similar kind of scheme, known as CRiS, is available for caravans as a collaboration between the National Caravan Council (NCC) and HPI.

More information

VCA and type approval -

VOSA and Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) - 61&r.l2=1082103262&topicId=1081996775

Trade Associations SMMT, VBRA and NCC supply advice to their members:

------------Information Sheet------------

Requirements for Trailers


Requirements regarding trailers used on the road are given in the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, as amended (C&U) and the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989, as amended (RVLR). The following is a summary of the main requirements.

Every effort has been made to ensure that it is factually correct but recipients should check with the producers of this document if they are unsure about the validity of a particular regulation after the date of publication or if they have reason to believe any part is not correct or is now out of date.

1 Weight

In the case of light trailers, that are less than 3500kg in maximum laden weight, there is not any specified relationship in UK law between the weight of the towing vehicle and the weight of the trailer.

For M1 category vehicles (motor vehicles used for the carriage of passengers and comprising not more than eight seats in addition to the driver’s seat) the maximum permissible trailer weight may be quoted by the vehicle manufacturer. Alternatively, the vehicle manufacturer may provide a maximum gross train weight (the laden weight of the trailer plus the laden weight of the towing vehicle). If either of these weights are exceeded it is possible that the Courts or Insurance Companies may take the view that this constitutes a danger.

The maximum laden weight of a trailer which may be towed by an M1 or a light goods vehicle depends on
(a)the stated gross train weight of the towing vehicle (GTW) and/or
(b)the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maximum permissible trailer weight.
Neither the maximum permissible trailer weight nor the maximum gross train weight (the laden weight of the trailer plus the laden weight of the towing vehicle) should be exceeded.

It is possible that the stated gross train weight is less than the sum of the stated maximum permissible laden weight of the towing vehicle and the stated maximum permissible laden trailer weight. In this case the towing vehicle and the trailer must be loaded such that each does not exceed its individual maximum limit and the sum of both does not exceed the maximum gross train weight.

It is not a requirement to display a notice of the unladen weight of the trailer or the towing vehicle, unless the towing vehicle is either a motor tractor or a locomotive, as defined in the C&U.

2 Dimensions

If the towing vehicle has a permissible gross weight in excess of 3.5 tonnes the maximum width and length of the trailer are 2.55 metres and 12 metres respectively. If however the gross weight of the towing vehicle is 3.5 tonnes or less, then the maximum permissible width and length for a drawbar trailer are 2.55 metres and 7 metres respectively. In both cases, the overall length of the towing vehicle and trailer must not exceed either 18m or 18.75m depending on the type of towing vehicle. If the vehicle combination (not including buses) is of the articulated category the maximum permissible width and length of the semi-trailer are 2.55 metres and 12.2 metres respectively. The overall length of the towing vehicle and trailer must not exceed 15.5m[1].

The C&U definition of the overall length of a trailer makes it clear that the coupling device and draw-bar are not included in the length dimension. In the case of a caravan, where a protective box is mounted on to the front (for example to hold gas storage tanks) and is supported on the draw-bar, this box is included in the overall length.

These requirements also apply to visiting vehicles. Under Regulation 4(4) Item 2 of C&U, we permit a vehicle to be brought into Great Britain by a person resident abroad, provided that the vehicle complies in every respect with the requirements relating to motor vehicles or trailers contained in:

(a)article 21 and paragraph (1) of article 22 of the Convention on Road Traffic concluded at Geneva on September 19, 1949 and Part I, Part II (so far as it relates to direction indicators and stoplamps) and Part III of Annex 6 to that Convention; or
(b)paragraphs I, III and VIII of article 3 of the International Convention relative to Motor Traffic concluded at Paris on April 24, 1926.

Therefore we provide visiting vehicles an exemption from the construction, equipment and maintenance of vehicle requirements specified in Part II of C&U but not from the requirements for Regulations 7, 8, and 10, which relate to length, width and height respectively.

There is significant harmonisation of regulation within the European Union and freedom of movement across borders. European Council Directive 96/53/EC, Annex I, states the maximum authorised dimensions for certain road vehicles circulating within the Community. However Annex I relates to large passenger carrying vehicles, large goods vehicles and trailers with a weight of over 3500 kg. There are no specific requirements for light vehicles.

Article 3(2) permits Member States to require vehicles, not covered by Annex I, put into circulation in their own territory, to be in conformity with their own national requirements.

The UK is permitted to refuse to admit vehicles into the UK if the dimensions exceed limits fixed by the domestic legislation.

3 Brakes

Braking requirements are prescribed in Regulations 15 and 16 of C&U:

·A trailer with a maximum design laden weight of more than 750 kg must be braked
·An inertia (overrun) type braking system may be used up to a maximum permissible laden weight of 3500kg[2].
·It is not permitted to use an unbraked trailer, the laden weight of which exceeds 50% of the kerbside weight of the towing vehicle.
·The braking system must be fitted with a device to stop the trailer automatically in the event of separation of the main coupling. This is normally achieved by a breakaway cable attached to the parking brake mechanism which applies the brakes when the trailer becomes detached from the towing vehicle. However, for trailers up to 1500kg laden weight, it is permitted to use a secondary coupling (chain, wire rope, etc) which in the event of separation of the main coupling, will retain the trailer attached to the towing vehicle, prevent the nose of the trailer from touching the ground and provide some residual steering of the trailer.
·An inertia braking system must allow the trailer to be reversed with the towing vehicle without imposing a sustained drag force exceeding 8% of the technically permissible maximum mass of the trailer. Devices used for this purpose must act automatically and disengage automatically when the trailer moves forward.

4 Lights

The requirements for trailer lighting can be found in The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 as amended (SI No.1796). A copy can be obtained from The Stationery Office, or see Section 7 below.

5 Suspension and Wings

Most trailers will need to be equipped with suitable suspension between each wheel and the frame of the vehicle as required by C&U Regulation 22. They will also require wings or other similar fittings to catch mud, water, etc thrown up by the rotation of its wheels as required by C&U Regulation 63. .

6 Coupling devices (Towbars)

Any coupling device fitted to a passenger carrying vehicle with up to eight seats plus the driver that:

a) has European Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) and
b) that the manufacturer has authorised to tow a trailer and
c) is first registered on or after 1 August 1998

must be type approved in accordance with EU Directive 94/20/EC. (Regulation 86B of C&U)

Modification to the coupling in any way, for example, by the addition of other devices that alter the position of the centre of a coupling ball, will render the approval invalid unless the coupling device manufacturer has taken this into account during approval of the device. You will need to consult the manufacturer for advice.

A vehicle that has ECWVTA will have a Vehicle Identification Number plate (VIN plate) bearing the vehicle manufacturer’s name, chassis number and an approval number including the letter ”e” in a small rectangle.

If the manufacturer has not authorised the towing of a trailer by declaration during the type approval process, it is not permitted to fit a coupling device or tow a trailer.

7 Legislation

The Regulations referred to above may be obtained through The Stationery Office (TSO) under the references, SI 1986 No.1078 for the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations and SI 1989 No. 1796 for the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations. However, there have been many amendments to these base Regulations and it is important to obtain all of these in order to be aware of the current situation.

As an alternative, you may find it easier to visit a good, city based, reference library where a publication such as The Encyclopaedia of Road Traffic Law and Practice, published by Sweet and Maxwell, may be available. This publication tracks the amendments to legislation and presents them in a consolidated and up-dated form. One of the volumes will contain both the Construction and Use and Lighting Regulations.

TSO Orders/Post Cash Department Tel: 0870 600 5522
PO Box 29 Fax: 0870 600 5533
Norwich Email:
NR3 1GN Website:

The RVLR amendments together with amendments to C&U from 1988 can be found as Statutory Instruments on the following web site:

European Union legislation can be found on the European Union Law website at

8 Other considerations

The above information relates to basic construction requirements and some aspects of the use of trailers. In addition it is recommended that you check whether you have the appropriate Driving Licence entitlement and whether the vehicle or combination of vehicles requires a tachograph to record driver’s hours. The latter will apply to most vehicles and combinations of vehicles above 3500kg gross weight, where used for commercial purposes.

For Driving Licence enquiries contact:
DVLA Customer Enquiries, Telephone 0300 790 6801

Further details are available at:

For Tachograph requirement enquiries contact:
Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, Telephone: 0300 123 9000

Further details are available at:

Further information
If you require any further information regarding the content of this fact sheet, please contact the DfT at the address below:

Transport Technology and Standards
Department for Transport
Zone 2/05
Great Minster House Telephone: 020 7944 2091
76 Marsham Street Fax: 020 7944 2196
London Email:

NOTE: The information in this document is a summary of the Department’s understanding of what the law requires. However, ultimately the interpretation of the law is a matter for the courts based on individual facts of any particular case. You are therefore advised to consult the relevant legislation and, if necessary, seek independent advice.

[1] 16.5metres if king pin to rear of trailer not over 12 metres and no part of trailer outside 2.04 metre radius in front of kingpin.

[2] In the case of a semitrailer or centre-axle trailer, the maximum mass to be considered for classifying the trailer corresponds to the static vertical load transmitted to the ground by the axle or axles of the semitrailer or centre-axle trailer when coupled to the towing vehicle and carrying its maximum load.
Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-10, 20:51
general lee's Avatar
general lee general lee is offline
mastercraftsman not mastercard
Official MemberVW Transporter
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: barnstaple
Posts: 11,354
Default Re: new trailer laws???

makes good reading cheers keith
Reply With Quote
Old 26-12-10, 20:58
Russt4's Avatar
Russt4 Russt4 is offline
Lord of the T4s
I Support Cancer Research UK
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Brighton
Posts: 1,162
Default Re: new trailer laws???

Thanks for that Keith.
Right so If I want to convert my old caddy van into a trailer,Do I need to get a VCA on it?
As im doing it for my self and not building it to sell I just wondered where I stand if I got a pull.As for the brakes I would prob use the existing hand brake for parking it up and thats it as I dont think the weight will out weigh 750k.

Thanks Russ
Reply With Quote
Old 26-12-10, 21:28
Maude's Avatar
Maude Maude is offline
Serial Poster
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Down yer
Posts: 4,265
Default Re: new trailer laws???

I haven't read all that info 'cos I'm lazy but as with most things I presume any new building regs will only apply to newly built trailers, and if an old trailer was built for your own use and wasn't huge then it wouldn't have ever been inspected or registered in any way. Sooooo a newly built trailer could become an (ahem cough cough) 'old trailer' and none of the new regs would matter.
As long as we are talking reasonably sized trailers.
Reply With Quote
Old 26-12-10, 21:34
Russt4's Avatar
Russt4 Russt4 is offline
Lord of the T4s
I Support Cancer Research UK
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Brighton
Posts: 1,162
Default Re: new trailer laws???

Very true Alan and I dont think you will have any problems with your new trailer as it looks sooooo old
Reply With Quote
Old 27-12-10, 06:47
colese's Avatar
colese colese is online now
sc vw customs 1.9tdi convert
Help For HeroesI Support Cancer Research UKOfficial TraderVW Transporter
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Bristol based
Posts: 14,938
Default Re: new trailer laws???

A few words from me on this..........

more EU bullsh*t

Check out the new SC VW Customs website and facebook page for many wheels and items for sale
Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-11, 19:45
wannat4's Avatar
wannat4 wannat4 is offline
Van Master Jedi
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Chichester
Posts: 644
Default Re: new trailer laws???

has any one heard about the new law coming in, where us oldys that are aloud to tow trailers and drive 7.5t trucks have gotta prove hours of towing/driving to keep the license for them and this has to be done at a test station
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Mug Banner

All times are GMT. The time now is 22:02.