MCN ends lost licence chaos

Published: 08 December 2009

MCN has ensured no more motorcyclists need lose their licence to DVLA cock-ups by rewriting the government agency’s policy on licence renewals.

DVLA bosses have agreed to immediately implement an MCN proposal that old licences be returned to riders when replacements are issued.

It means that if motorcycle entitlement is missing from the new licence, riders will have the old one to prove it.

We put the proposal forward in August after hearing hundreds of reports of DVLA deleting people’s motorcycle entitlement in a saga which spanned years.

Rider’s who’ve had to take a motorcycle test from scratch include Donington Park chief executive Simon Gillett and a police technician who’d been riding force bikes for over a decade.

Our proposal won the backing of the RAC, AA, MPs and many of you who signed a petition. Because it has been adopted, no-one who has genuinely had a motorcycle licence in the past need ever retake their test.

DVLA’s decision follows a consultation with motorcycle groups, the police and MCN.

Our original proposal was that old licences be returned with the corner cut off. DVLA has agreed instead to return them with a hole punched in the photograph.

The agency was concerned some people may try to pass the old licence off as a current one by covering the corner with a finger while showing it to police.

Paper licences will be returned with ‘cancelled’ stamped on them.

The new procedure will apply whenever any licence holders apply for a replacement licence, for example because their address has changed or because their photocard licence has expired.

All they must to do to get the old one back is include a stamped self-addressed envelope with the application and a note asking for it to be returned. The change comes into effect immediately.

DVLA’s decision was announced today by the agency’s corporate affairs director David Evans.

He said: “If you put a stamped address envelope in with your application and ask us to return your old licence, we’ll return it to you with a hole punched through the photograph on it.

"If you send the paper counterpart in, we’ll send that back with ‘cancelled’ stamped on it.”

The stamped self-addressed envelope is needed because old licences are processed at a different DVLA office to the one which issues replacements. 

Evans said licence holders who had changed address could alternatively keep their old licence until the new one arrived if they did the application on the agency’s website.

For a full report on this, get next week’s MCN, on sale December 16.