The Department is responsible for granting and maintaining individual Vehicle Special orders (VSOs) under Article 60 of the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 19951 .
Individual Vehicle Special Orders issued by the Department
VSOs authorise the use on roads of vehicles and vehicle combinations which would not otherwise comply with the current construction and use statutory requirements contained in the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 19992.
VSOs permit the use of such vehicles on public roads. A special order needs to be obtained from the Department and is granted for a defined period. This is provided the applicant supplies documentation to establish that the vehicles meet the VSO requirements.
A vehicle cannot be used on public roads without a valid VSO issued by the Department.
An Order is only issued when:
a) Suitable information has been provided by the applicant that sets out the processes that will be in place to ensure that appropriate safety issues and requirements are met; and
b) When and if the reasons for non-compliance with the Motor Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations (NI) 1999 are justified and supported.
The applicant must provide full details as requested to enable the Department to make a decision. Individual VSOs are required to allow the use on roads of a small number of vehicles, which are special by type or purpose. These vehicles may for example, be for tests and trials, abnormal load movements, or "one off" specials.
How to apply for an Individual Vehicle Special Order
Please apply to the Department in writing at the address shown below providing the following information:
a. Name and address of person / organisation making the application;
b. Details of persons / organisations who will be using the vehicles, if different from (a);
c. The number of vehicles involved;
d. Type of vehicles involved, their make, model, registration and/or chassis (serial) numbers of motor vehicles or trailers. These will be listed on any order issued;
e. Details of the vehicles e.g. number of axles, individual axle weights, and gross vehicle weights (both in kg), plus dimensions (in metres);
f. In the case of vehicle combinations, overall weights (in kg) and dimensions (in metres);
g. Details of the Construction and Use Regulations with which the vehicles do not comply and the reasons why they cannot comply: The Regulations are specified on an Order and it should be made clear that failure to comply with non-specified Regulations, or supplying incorrect data would invalidate an Order.
h. If appropriate (for example, tests and trials), a detailed description of the route along with a map on which it is proposed to use the vehicle.
Please note you may send this information to us as an email, but please be aware that email is not a secure medium, and as such, the Department cannot be held responsible for any loss of the data or subsequent misuse by a third party.
On receipt of your application
The Department will evaluate your application and contact you should further information be required. Various organisations including the Police Service for Northern Ireland, the Driver and Vehicle Agency, Local Authorities and other interested parties may be consulted - especially in respect of the conditions to be imposed.
Applicants should ensure that their applications are submitted to the Department in good time in order for the necessary approvals and processes to be implemented. Following receipt of all information, and assuming that there are neither any technical reasons, nor objections from any of the parties consulted, an Order will be prepared and despatched by email. The Department will process an application only when it is satisfied that all relevant information has been submitted by the applicant. An Order can take approximately six months to be processed from this point.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to supply full and accurate information as the Department requires. Any incomplete or inaccurate information supplied by the applicant will delay the processing of the Order.
Once an Order has been issued to the applicant
Orders are issued for varying periods of time and is at the discretion of the Department.
GB Vehicle Special Order – Longer Semi-Trailer Trial
VSOs to allow the use of a vehicle in the GB Longer Semi-Trailer Trial are not issued by the Department in Northern Ireland. If you wish to apply for the GB Longer Semi-Trailer Trial, you must submit an application to the Department for Transport in Great Britain by emailing: Freight@dft.gsi.gov.uk
Further information on the GB Longer Semi-Trailer Trial can be found at the following link:
NI – replication of VSOs from the GB Longer Semi-Trailer Trial
Operators who have been successfully allowed to participate in the GB trial who wish to extend the use of their vehicles to roads in Northern Ireland would require an additional VSO. If you wish to register your semi-trailer for use on Northern Ireland roads, you should email a copy of your approved GB VSO to the Department, at the email address below, to enable for the GB VSO to be replicated for use in Northern Ireland.
Applicants are asked to submit their VSOs as early as possible as these may take some time to be processed.
On receipt of your application for a Vehicle Special Order – Longer Semi-Trailer Trial
The Department will evaluate your application and contact you should further information be required. The Department will also liaise with the Department for Transport in respect of this application and the conditions imposed.
Please note that the Department for Infrastructure may revoke an Order.
Email Vehicle Service Orders to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or alternatively send applications to the following address:Vehicle Standards
Vehicle Policy Branch
Safe and Sustainable Travel Division
Department for Infrastructure
10‑18 Adelaide Street