Open letter to Grant Shapps - Secretary of State for Transport regarding problems with the DVLA

Updated: Jul 9

In my email to you dated 17th May, I appealed to you as “Secretary of State for Transport”, with responsibility for oversight of the DVLA, to ask you to bring about a change in the DVLA rules so that those of us who are over 70 can submit driving licence renewal applications in good time to get them back before they travel overseas; ideally with priority given to their delivery.

As you will see from the attached Telegraph article dated 23rd April (below), which we published on this website, your colleague Jacob Rees-Mogg has been very critical of the DVLA and so I copied him on my email to you in order for him to add my concerns to those of his constituents and the many other Brits over 70 with second homes overseas who are in a similar position. I have also copied my MP (Dr Ben Spencer) and the Chief Executive of the DVLA (Julie Lennard)

Please note that the assurances from the DVLA that will allow me to drive on

my expired licence (until a new one has been issued) are not acceptable to the French police who are armed and can be very intimidating and so some sort of simplified assurance in plain English needs to be sent by email to all of those who are affected wherever they are located and not just in France. The current assurances are far too detailed for them to be understood let alone translated.

In my case, I made my application online on the 15th February being the permitted 90 days allowed by the DVLA before my licence was due to expire on the 14th May. It has now expired with no further information from the DVLA other than a brief acknowledgement of another email to Julie Lennard from the complaints department dated 18th June. However, I did receive an earlier letter by post dated 31st March asking for medical information which I promptly provided.

The letter arrived at my house on the 6th April being just two and a half days before I was scheduled to leave for France. The letter contained a totally unacceptable threat to cancel my licence if no reply was received within 14 days from the date of the letter. Had I not been at home, my licence would have been cancelled without my knowledge and my insurance would have been invalidated. How on earth can the DVLA make such threats?

Happily, it seems that my licence has now been renewed but I only found that out today 9th July by clicking on this link and making a copy of the information on it.

I have had no email to say that my licence has been renewed and so without checking the website above I would have not have been able to arrange for a member of my family to collect it before coming to France later this month.

I now have to deal with the renewal of my wife’s licence which expires in September and is more difficult as she has been asked to submit a paper application on Form D46 which should have been sent to our home is the UK in good time but only arrived there after two weeks from the date she was able to begin her application. Whilst it has been posted to us by a friend, it has not arrived in France after a further three weeks!!

In the meantime, the advice below (which is a screen-print of advice shown on the website during her attempt to apply online) was not at all helpful given that we are now in France as the advice says that application forms are available from the “online form ordering section of the DVLA website” but those forms do not include the D46 form nor can they be downloaded to our laptops and can only be sent by post to the UK address of the applicant!

Worse still, it became apparent that the main reason for asking her to make a paper application is that she was required to provide a new photo (and did not have a UK passport, which the system asked for, as she is Norwegian but her details are recorded on government records as she has been granted “settled status”) but on examining the DVLA instructions it became clear that she could only apply for renewal of her licence using the Form D46 as without that she would have to return to the UK in order to submit the application in person at a Post Office using a D1 form.

Whilst we or any other British driving licence holders may have friends and family who can enter their home to see if the D46 form has arrived or visit the Post Office to obtain a form D1, it is not only inconvenient but incurs unnecessary costs and delay and must also be adding to the DVLA overheads to deal with paper applications in the way outlined in the DVLA instructions which can be downloaded by clicking on this link:

Finally, to conclude this open letter, here is the link which generated the message from the “online form ordering section of the DVLA website” below:

For all of this letter in pdf, please click here:

Open letter to Grant Shapps - Secretary of State for Transport regarding problems with the
Download • 117KB

For a redacted copy of the D46 application form in pdf, please click here:

DVLA - Driving Licence Renewal Application - D46P - redacted
Download PDF • 3.90MB

For the article entitled "Quangos face the axe under Jacob Rees-Mogg’s cost-cutting plan" by Edward Malnick, Sunday Political Editor – for the Telegraph - 23 April 2022, please click here for that article in pdf:

Quangos face the axe under Jacob Rees-Mogg’s cost-cutting plan – The Telegraph – 23.04.22
Download • 95KB

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