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cars, trailers, numberplates...?


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I have tried to search the web (without useful results) about the following:


what rules do apply to trailers? MOT? Own numberplate (or the same as the towing vehicle)?


I have 5 trailers (horsebox and smaller ones) and don't know whether I should just drive them up with the German numberplates. And then...?


One of them is a (completely renovated) Eastern Germany trailer (2 axles) which can alternatively used for being towed by a car/tractor or by 2 horses.

It is fully roadworthy and safe, has automatic brakes, lights etc., but there exist no papers (no vehicle idenfication number, no COC, nothing). Due to the high costs it has not been registered for use on public roads in Germany so far (own registration + MOT + SVA required here) and has only been used on own land.


How to get this trailer towed to Shetland (apart from inside a lorry)?


Any ideas?

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In that case - as far as I'm aware, and bear in mind this is only for a small car-towed trailer, my one doesn't need an MoT though it does need to be roadworthy i.e. tread on the tyres, lighting board working etc. It needs to have a lighting board with rear lights, stop (braking) lights reflectors indicators and a number plate light. It has a separate plate (with the same registration number) as the towing vehicle.

My trailer has no VIN or papers whatsoever.


That may be of some very minor help...but as I say...that is all I know about. Larger trailers - you need to be aware of the weight of the towing vehicle etc.

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The Road Vehicles (Display of Registration Marks) Regulations 2001


Fixing of rear registration plates: vehicles registered on or after the relevant date


5.—(1) This regulation applies to vehicles, other than works trucks, road rollers and agricultural machines, first registered on or after the relevant date.

(2) A registration plate must be fixed on the rear of—

(a) the vehicle, or

(B) where the vehicle is towing a trailer, the trailer, or

© where the vehicle is towing more than one trailer, the rearmost trailer.


That indicates the trailer registration plate must match that of the towing vehicle (which need not have the rear number plate attached).




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You will need to get them delivered to Shetland. It would not be worth paying the "high" costs of getting them registered for use on your roads. Not just to load them on to a ferry.

Possibly the easiest way would be via container. Then you could pick them up one at a time. You could also fill them with some of your belongings.

You will have to fix the towing vehicles numberplate when you move them from the container to their final destination. The number plate has to be illuminated with a white light that does not face following traffic. If the number plate on the towing vehicle can be seen past the trailer, you would not have to.

The trailers have to be road worthy, good tires (more than 1.5mm of tread), sound bearings and towing equipment. You will need to have brake assisted if they are over 750kg Gross and have an auto braking system (usually a lanyard) in case it become detached.


The train weight will be displayed on the vehicle plate normally.


You do not need to have a trailer board if the lights on the towing vehicle are visible past the trailer, though marker lights in that case would be best and you must have rear facing red reflectors.


Side marker lights/reflectors are also good practice, though I am not sure on legislation about their requirement.


That is all I can remember, oh, remember to lift the jockey wheel, I have forgotten on a couple of times, embarrassing and can be dangerous.

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As long as the numberplates match (front and back), the lights all work, you will not be stopped or asked for any paperwork.


You might be dragged off to a weighbridge if you look like you are overloaded but that is rare.


We tow all the time from the Land Rover or from the towbar at the back of the lorry and all we have ever been stopped about is lights and even then they only want them working at night.


If you are worried that they don't work, get a new tailbar with lights on - much cheaper than fighting with the old ones.

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some good advice! Thanks!


So (correct me if this idea doesn't work)... if I get my car registered in UK whilst the process of relocating is still ongoing (got my importing a vehícle to UK-package from the DVLA already) then it should be possible to tow my trailers (stacking the smaller ones onto the larger one should be possible and weight restrictions are no problem because the Lada can tow 2 tons) through Germany with the British numberplates...

could that work?


The only problem is: if I do it this way I would not have a British MOT at the time of travelling but only the German equivalent. And I don't know whether there is any sort of mutual recognition scheme like the one about car registration.


What if a visiting friend (with a British car) takes a trailer of mine home to Britain?

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