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New Towing And Camping Regulations In France?


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#1 Surf01

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:16 PM

Can any one confirm if this is correct?

 

This was posted on the Swift web site today 17/02/2013. Anyone come across this?

Living
in France, as I do, I thought it best if I inform you of some changes to the rules and thousands (millions?) of regulations that took effect from 19<sup>th</sup> January 2013 which affect those of you who travel with large outfits. Most of these new regulations only affect those who tow with a total ‘train’ weight i.e. car + caravan whose total gross weight exceeds 3500kg (3.5 tonnes). Weight, in this case, is called PTAC in France, and equates to the MGPLW in Britain. You can find your caravan’s MGPLW on your ‘A’ frame plate, or in your manual. It doesn’t actually matter how much the car or caravan actually weighs. Loaded up for holidays, I dare say most of you have exceeded these weights, but it’s irrelevant, it’s the published weight that matters. Don’t think that by underloading your ‘van you can get away with it. Again, it’s the published weight that matters.

They have taken advantage of a new batch of EU regulations to sneak these changes in. The reason for the creation of these new rules is simply because the French – although you will not find this written down anywhere – hate, loathe, despise – or any unpleasant verb you can think
of – the ‘gens de voyage’ or the travellers, Romanies, Gypsies, call them what you will, so, to force them off the road, they have regulated. The 3 main points are:-

  1. Driving Licences. It used to be that if you had a British driving license, you were automatically entitled to tow a caravan if your ‘train weight’ was up to 4.5 tonnes.
    This has changed. There are now three levels of license
    1. Up to 3.5 tonnes (Permis B) – a normal UK license if fine, as long as your caravan is not heavier than your car. If it is, don’t bring it into
      France, it’s illegal unless you have the equivalent of at least (3)
      below.
    2. Between 3.5 and 4.5 tonnes (Permis E96). This is the newest level brought in at the insistence of the FFCC, the French Caravan Club, and has caused much confusion throughout France.
      Basically, if your UK driving license specifically states that you can tow a caravan, then it will be fine, otherwise, you must get your license endorsed by the DVLA. Not living in Britain any longer, I don’t know if this is chargeable.
    3. Over 4.5 tonnes (Permis EB - used to be an B/E - What? Confusion in France? They invented it!). The new regulation came into effect on 19<sup>th</sup> January 2013, and as at today (17<sup>th</sup>
      February) the full details have not yet been published – this is
      France, don’t forget! Most driving schools believe that if you are over
      60 then forget it: you will not be allowed on French roads with a train
      weight this big. French drivers over 60 are required to undergo a strict
      medical every 2 years to keep their EB licence and you are assumed to
      have failed unless you can prove that you are fit. It is believed that if you are under 60 you may need to have the equivalent of a PSV, or Heavy Goods license when the final details bcome available.
  2. Speed Limits. For units over 3.5 tonnes, you will be restricted to a maximum of 90kph (about 56mph) on the French 'A' roads. ‘A’ roads are the roads where the speed limit for cars is 130 kph. If the speed limit is 110kph, then you are only allowed to do 90kph with a large caravan.
    So, don’t be fooled into thinking that because you are on a dual carriageway (usually an N road) you can do 90kph, you can’t, you can only do 80kph, which is the maximum speed on all other roads in France for you. At the same time new regulations have been passed to allow the police to set up speed traps wherever they want, and, believe me, they are. If you are caught speeding with a large caravan you run the risk of having your ‘van impounded until you have taken at least 7 hours of driving tests/ lessons. One further thing is that you must now display on the back of your caravan two stickers, one saying ‘80’ and the other
    ‘90’ - just in case you forget. The police are rather lax about this, they won’t stop you just for this, but if they feel in a bad mood if they do stop you, this is something else they will get you for.
  3. Campings Municipals. Throughout France nearly every large town has its own camp site, run by the mairie (the town hall). Generally speaking, these sites are very good. Simple,but very well maintained. However, in January an ‘advisory note’ was
    sent to all mairies in France, which was to be kept secret.
    However, our local Secretary knew we were caravanners, so he showed it to us. In effect, all double-axle caravans (double-essieu) are now banned from every Camping Municipal throughout France, and pressure is to be put on all commercial sites to follow, although I do not believe this will be very successful. The mairies are also being encouraged to charge considerably more if you tow with a 4X4. This is
    probably the most direct regulation against the travellers, but it has had repercussions for caravanners from Britain, Holland, Germany etc who have no problems with double-axles. We have tried to explain that double-axles are probably kinder to the ground than a large single axle, but rules is rules.

There is one further thing, which is an advisory from the FFCC. If you tow a double-axle caravan
(whatever its weight) then is advisable to carry a small folder to prove that you have a fixed home, and don’t live in your caravan permanently.
In this folder you should have:-

  • A copy of your caravan’s CRIS certificate
  • A copy of your latest Council tax bill
  • A copy of your latest electricity , water, telephone (not mobile), or gas bill
  • A copy of your driving license (including the photo).
  • A copy of your passport.

But, the important thing is to make sure that the same person’s name and address appear on all of these copies and that person is driving.
This only takes a couple of minutes to set up and it can be very useful if you are asked to prove your identity in some remote part of France - don’t forget that a passport doesn’t have your address on it.

 



#2 kiaboy

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:35 PM

I only knew about the speed restrictions, which apply to me. Did not know that I would have to stick speed stickers on though. I hope the gum used on the back will not cause cracking to the rear plastic panel :unsure:



#3 David in Cheshire

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:39 PM

This has been posted on the CC forum and I think it looks very much like an elaborate hoax.

#4 onewheelonmywagon

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:48 PM

Yeah, I'll wait until I see any changes in requirements on the AA website.



#5 Surf01

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:48 PM

One way to kill tourism to France though!



#6 indoors

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 03:53 PM

Hi all,

Coming up for holidays !! It's get France time again. We'll  soon be getting the promise of  " best British summer in years " from the weather forecasters, and please no the " I've been gassed again ".

indoors.



#7 not so big john

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:04 PM

Another good reason to get the Santander ferry?  Don't get me wrong, I love to meander through France, but worrying about which of the many new regulations I am breaking rather spoils it.



#8 CommanderDave

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:05 PM

Ferry to Santander looks more inviting with a couple of plates stuck on the back ? :)

 

 

I ll wait and see till this more is known .

 

 

 

Dave


Edited by CommanderDave, 17 February 2013 - 04:06 PM.


#9 iansoady

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:11 PM

Until I see an authoritative reference I will take this with a large pinch of salt.



#10 Foghorn Leghorn

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:15 PM

Much prefer Espana anyway as the Euro's go further and the weather is normally better.
To help with the Frogs and there regulations
Good job I have Brittany Ferrys property owners. Club membership as the discounts help

Edited by Foghorn Leghorn, 17 February 2013 - 04:16 PM.


#11 moulin87

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:16 PM

I've had a quick look on the ffcc website. The element relating to the new license requirement was in their section on Motorhomes towing trailers, no mention in the caravan section. No mention of the speed stickers either.

 

In relation to medicals, to have any licence in France other than a basic B licence requires your doctor to do a 'medical' every five years under 60, every two over 60 and every year over 76..It's not new. Speed limits have been changed for a while

 

As for twin axles on municipals I've no idea, but it is a 'British' thing to have a twin axle. you see few continentals towing twin axles. As for travellers there are many sites about France just for them so I don't think they use commercial sites,municipals all that often.

 

As for 4x4s , i thought everybody knew that from this January only ones built by Citroen, Peugeot or Renault were allowed ;)


Edited by moulin87, 17 February 2013 - 04:18 PM.


#12 CommanderDave

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:24 PM

Nothing on the Fivers forums and they would be most effected i would of thought .

 

 

Dave



#13 onewheelonmywagon

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:26 PM

As for 4x4s , i thought everybody knew that from this January only ones built by Citroen, Peugeot or Renault were allowed ;)

 

You can take other 4x4s as long as they aren't carrying any horsemeat containing 'bute', and there is an R in the month. :P



#14 CaravanLady

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 06:51 PM

The driving licence laws changed on 19 January 2013, but as far as I can tell they only affect people passing their test after that date.

If I have read it right you will now need a C1+E to drive an outfit weighing over 3.5T, but the wording is about unclear.



#15 BrianI

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:04 PM

The driving licence laws changed on 19 January 2013, but as far as I can tell they only affect people passing their test after that date.
If I have read it right you will now need a C1+E to drive an outfit weighing over 3.5T, but the wording is about unclear.

Cat C1 applies to vehicles between 3500kg and 7500kg. All cars (as far as I know) weigh less than that. To tow an outfit with a train weight over 3500kg you need a B+E licence.
As far as car drivers are concerned nothing has changed with the licence changes.
Brian

#16 CaravanLady

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:15 PM

Got it wrong again, thanks Brian



#17 ericfield

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:53 PM

You would have thought government had enough on their plates keeping their economies running without alienating money bearing tourists.

Sounds like another silly breathalyser moment.

#18 burstneraddict

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:21 PM

I cannot see how the FFCC could require anyone to have a CRIS certificate as this is a private British organisation.  I do not have one as mine is a continental van.  This statement makes me doubt the validity of the rest of the long post.



#19 tonyradstone

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:36 PM

Nothing on the Fivers forums and they would be most effected i would of thought .
 
 What is the Fivers forum please

#20 Swizz

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:56 PM

What happened to the rule/law that whatever you are allowed to drive in your home state, was OK in each other EU state. OK you might have to prove what you can drive but your drivers licence does that. The vehicle pictorials are the same on UK & French licences.
Your address also appears on both licences.
There was a fuss years back that motor homes towing a small car had to be on a trailer in Spain but in UK a system that applied the car brakes if the motor home brake light lit, was legal & eventually Spain had to accept that should also be allowed for Brits in Spain

David.

Edited by Swizz, 17 February 2013 - 10:59 PM.





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