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Old 21 March 2012, 09:40   #1
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Clarification on B+E legislation please.

There seems to be loads of information on the internet about what you can and canít tow on a category B license. However, there doesnít seem to be much on what can be towed on a category B+E license. Iíve read that you are ďgenerally entitled to tow a vehicle and trailer combination not exceeding 8.25 tonnes MAMĒ. Is this true? And are there any regs stipulating the vehicle weight to trailer weight ratio??

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Old 21 March 2012, 10:59   #2
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I think it's also down to what you can actually tow with the vehicles concerned - that would be 3500kgs on a regular hitch with overrun brakes, up from that and you need an artic with air brakes anyway which is a C + E licence.
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Old 21 March 2012, 14:33   #3
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Looks like they are changing it again:

New rules for towing trailers with a car or small vehicle : Directgov - Motoring

So the new (post-2013) B+E is only up to 3,500kgs, but it isn't clear what the requirements are if you passed your test between 1997 and 2013.
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Old 21 March 2012, 14:35   #4
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I think it's also down to what you can actually tow with the vehicles concerned - that would be 3500kgs on a regular hitch with overrun brakes
So you reckon you'd be OK to take a Discovery or similiar and tow the most you can behind it (3000kg ish??), which would bring the gross train weight to 5500kg ish, and that would be legal on a B+E license?

How does a B+E holder stand on the trailer weight (plated and/or actual) exceeding the weight of the towing vehicle?
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Old 21 March 2012, 14:44   #5
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Originally Posted by Shaz View Post
Looks like they are changing it again:

New rules for towing trailers with a car or small vehicle : Directgov - Motoring

So the new (post-2013) B+E is only up to 3,500kgs, but it isn't clear what the requirements are if you passed your test between 1997 and 2013.
That's essentially exactly the same as it is currently except there's no mention of the relation of trailer GVW to vehicle kerb weight.

They don't half make it difficult to understand!!
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Old 22 March 2012, 01:44   #6
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Under current legislation, category BE allows you to drive a category B vehicle (ie upto 3500kg GVW) towing a trailer of any weight (if the towing towing is plated to do so). I used to operate a mini artic which had a GVW of 3500kg and GTW of 8700kg that came under the BE licence category. Be aware that any trailer over 3500kg with require air brakes and an annual MOT type test. Vehicle/trailer combinations over 7500kg GTW will require a tachograph, even for private use.

The 8250kg GTW limit that people often get confused with only applies to C1E vehicles (ie GVW of towing vehicle 3501 - 7500kg) for people who were given the category by default for passing their test before 1st January 1997.
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Old 22 March 2012, 04:31   #7
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Thanks for clearing that up Mike. So as far as I understand it, with a B+E license, one can use a Cat. B vehicle to tow a trailer of any weight (up to the limit stated for that vehicle by the manufacturer??) and there are no issues with the relation of vehicle kerb weight to trailer MAM??

How does the law stand on towing a trailer of greater MAM than the towing weight limit for the towing vehicle as stated by the towing vehicle manufacturer?
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Old 22 March 2012, 05:52   #8
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Originally Posted by Shaz View Post
Looks like they are changing it again:

New rules for towing trailers with a car or small vehicle : Directgov - Motoring

So the new (post-2013) B+E is only up to 3,500kgs, but it isn't clear what the requirements are if you passed your test between 1997 and 2013.
Simple answer
After jan 2013 NO driver can tow a trailer over 3500 MAM with a B+E and that will affect ..... 0.0000001% of drivers
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Old 22 March 2012, 05:58   #9
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There seems to be loads of information on the internet about what you can and can’t tow on a category B license. However, there doesn’t seem to be much on what can be towed on a category B+E license.
On a B+E licence you can tow any trailer up to 3500 MAM

There may be other actual weight restrictions on what each individual type of vehicle can tow but that will not have anything to do with the trailer MAM weight

One of the biggest myths doing the rounds is that the trailer MAM cannot be more than the max towing capacity because it has the potential to be overloaded = total rubbish
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Old 22 March 2012, 06:07   #10
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So you reckon you'd be OK to take a Discovery or similiar and tow the most you can behind it (3000kg ish??), which would bring the gross train weight to 5500kg ish, and that would be legal on a B+E license?

How does a B+E holder stand on the trailer weight (plated and/or actual) exceeding the weight of the towing vehicle?
The GTW is the ACTUAL weight (not plated GVW/MAM weights) that the combination can be.

You can have a trailer plated and actually weighing higher than the towing vehicle but a lot will depend on what the vehicle is designed to do

Many 4x4s now max out at 2800ish GVW but are designed to tow 3500

The general SAFETY ADVICE is to have the vehicle heavier than the trailer but in the example above this is not the case.
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Old 22 March 2012, 06:38   #11
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Simple answer
After jan 2013 NO driver can tow a trailer over 3500 MAM with a B+E and that will affect ..... 0.0000001% of drivers
Just to clarify the new rule only applies to people who pass their test after January 2013. People who passed before will still be allowed to tow trailers in excess of 3500kg MAM.
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Old 22 March 2012, 06:41   #12
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One of the biggest myths doing the rounds is that the trailer MAM cannot be more than the max towing capacity because it has the potential to be overloaded = total rubbish
I agree with you, as I've had to replate some trailers to match the max permissable towing load of the towing vehicle, however, Ifor Williams ( a huge general trailer manufacturer) didnt argue the point and just re issued a new plate in exchange for the old one, why would they do that if it wasnt required?
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Old 22 March 2012, 06:46   #13
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Thanks for clearing that up Mike. So as far as I understand it, with a B+E license, one can use a Cat. B vehicle to tow a trailer of any weight (up to the limit stated for that vehicle by the manufacturer??) and there are no issues with the relation of vehicle kerb weight to trailer MAM??

How does the law stand on towing a trailer of greater MAM than the towing weight limit for the towing vehicle as stated by the towing vehicle manufacturer?
The manufacturers towing limit shown in the handbook is based on the vehicles ability to pull away on a slope and does not feature in the legislation.

As long as both the vehicle and trailer do not exceed their plated GVWs and the two combined do not exceed the vehicle's plated GTW, you are legal.
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Old 22 March 2012, 06:57   #14
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One of the biggest myths doing the rounds is that the trailer MAM cannot be more than the max towing capacity because it has the potential to be overloaded = total rubbish
Thanks for that.

So I've got a Phantom 21 (approx. 850kg all up at most) sitting on a Satellite 2500kg capacity braked trailer (weighing roughly 500kg) , giving me a complete ACTUAL trailer weight of 1350kg ish but with a PLATED MAM of 2500kg.

I want to tow this with a Mk4 Golf - Kerb weight: 1343kg, GVW: 1790kg and Max towing capacity: 1400kg.

My confusion lies in the fact that the although the plated weight is 2500kg (giving a GROSS TRAIN WEIGHT of 4290kg and therefore requiring the B+E endorsement), the ACTUAL weight I'm going to be towing, comes close but does not exceed either the kerb weight of the car or the max capacity the car can tow.

So essentially I understand that I need the B+E becasue the GTW is above 3500kg. Bottom line, with B+E can I tow a trailer that has a PLATED and/or ACTUAL weight that is greater than the car's ACTUAL and/or MAM weight??
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Old 22 March 2012, 07:06   #15
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Just to clarify the new rule only applies to people who pass their test after January 2013. People who passed before will still be allowed to tow trailers in excess of 3500kg MAM.
Not correct - it will affect ALL drivers when towing with a B+E

Existing car or small vehicle drivers

If you already have a licence to drive cars or small vehicles (category B and BE), you'll keep your entitlement to tow trailers. Your entitlement to tow trailers will stay as it was when you passed your driving test.
To tow heavier trailers after 19 January 2013, you'll need to follow the rules for new drivers, below.
New drivers from 19 January 2013


If you pass your test to drive cars or small vehicles up to 3,500 kilograms (kg) (category B) from 19 January 2013, youíll be able to tow:
  • light trailers weighing no more than 750 kg
  • trailers weighing more than 750 kg, where the combined weight of the towing vehicle (car or small vehicle) and the trailer is not more than 3,500 kg
Category BE
If your trailer weighs over 750 kg and the combined trailer and towing vehicle weight is more than 3,500 kg, youíll need to pass a further test. The trailer you tow must not be heavier than 3,500 kg. This test will be shown on your driving licence as category BE.
Category C1E
To tow a trailer weighing more than 3,500 kg with a car or small vehicle (category B), youíll need to pass a test for category C1E.
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Old 22 March 2012, 07:08   #16
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I agree with you, as I've had to replate some trailers to match the max permissable towing load of the towing vehicle, however, Ifor Williams ( a huge general trailer manufacturer) didnt argue the point and just re issued a new plate in exchange for the old one, why would they do that if it wasnt required?
Did you tell them WHY the downplate was being done?

IFOR often downplated so that trailers comply with B licence rules
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Old 22 March 2012, 07:10   #17
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Originally Posted by SW RIB Charter View Post
The manufacturers towing limit shown in the handbook is based on the vehicles ability to pull away on a slope and does not feature in the legislation.

As long as both the vehicle and trailer do not exceed their plated GVWs and the two combined do not exceed the vehicle's plated GTW, you are legal.
According to a very reliable source.
Exceeding the towing capacity of a vehicle could leave the driver open to prosecution under the following:-
Regulation 100 C&U regs 1986
Road traffic act section 40, 41 or 42 with possible penalty points
If overload more than 30% then may consider vehicle/combination being in dangerous conndition

Although there is not a law which specifically states that exceeding the manufacturers towing capacity is illegal those other ones listed above can be used.

Its like doing 30 in a 30 limit when the driver sees children are running across the road without taking much care - the legal 30 limit has not been broken but there could be a case of prosecuting for driving without due care by going too fast for the situation presented
But what would be too fast .. 19, 20, 21 etc ?? - that requires an official to say - it was unsafe - same goes for exceeding the towing capacity limit
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Old 22 March 2012, 07:11   #18
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Originally Posted by SW RIB Charter View Post
As long as both the vehicle and trailer do not exceed their plated GVWs and the two combined do not exceed the vehicle's plated GTW, you are legal.
That's for a B+E license yes? As on just a B licnese there would be issues with trailer MAM vs. car kerb weight.
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Old 22 March 2012, 07:17   #19
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Thanks for that.

So I've got a Phantom 21 (approx. 850kg all up at most) sitting on a Satellite 2500kg capacity braked trailer (weighing roughly 500kg) , giving me a complete ACTUAL trailer weight of 1350kg ish but with a PLATED MAM of 2500kg.

I want to tow this with a Mk4 Golf - Kerb weight: 1343kg, GVW: 1790kg and Max towing capacity: 1400kg.

My confusion lies in the fact that the although the plated weight is 2500kg (giving a GROSS TRAIN WEIGHT of 4290kg and therefore requiring the B+E endorsement), the ACTUAL weight I'm going to be towing, comes close but does not exceed either the kerb weight of the car or the max capacity the car can tow.

So essentially I understand that I need the B+E becasue the GTW is above 3500kg. Bottom line, with B+E can I tow a trailer that has a PLATED and/or ACTUAL weight that is greater than the car's ACTUAL and/or MAM weight??
4290 does require B+E
2500 being greater than 1343 also requires B+E
The fact that any actual weight being towed does not exceed 1343 has no bearing on B licence rules

PSST - 1350 is greater than 1343

The actual weight being towed is 1350 which is not greater than 1400 so thats fine
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Old 22 March 2012, 07:23   #20
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Thanks for that.

So I've got a Phantom 21 (approx. 850kg all up at most) sitting on a Satellite 2500kg capacity braked trailer (weighing roughly 500kg) , giving me a complete ACTUAL trailer weight of 1350kg ish but with a PLATED MAM of 2500kg.

I want to tow this with a Mk4 Golf - Kerb weight: 1343kg, GVW: 1790kg and Max towing capacity: 1400kg.

My confusion lies in the fact that the although the plated weight is 2500kg (giving a GROSS TRAIN WEIGHT of 4290kg and therefore requiring the B+E endorsement), the ACTUAL weight I'm going to be towing, comes close but does not exceed either the kerb weight of the car or the max capacity the car can tow.

So essentially I understand that I need the B+E becasue the GTW is above 3500kg. Bottom line, with B+E can I tow a trailer that has a PLATED and/or ACTUAL weight that is greater than the car's ACTUAL and/or MAM weight??
This might be able to be towed on a B licence but it would be very close..

The trailer would need to be down plated to 1343 and the load with the unladen weight of the trailer to be more more than 1343 so you would need to lose 7kgs from that 1350

Reasons that would be legal for B licence towing -
1343 trailer MAM is not more than the 1343 vehicle empty weight
1343 trailer MAM plus 1790 vehicle GVW (total 3133) is not more than 3500
1343 actual weight is not more than 1400 towing capacity
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