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What is the difference between HGV and LGVs?


Newer drivers who are entering the transport and logistics industry may find the terminology associated confusing. However, N.D Brown is here to help people understand the terminology associated with the industry.

N.D Brown is the leading HGV hire company for clients all over the country, thanks to our handily stationed depots.

Understanding HGV and LGV Licences

The difference between HGV and LGV licences is largely an artificial, bureaucratic one. In UK transportation terminology, ‘HGV’ stands for ‘Heavy Goods Vehicle.’ In contrast, ‘LGV’ stands for a ‘Large Goods vehicle.’

Under UK and European law, an LGV and HGV licence are the same licence that covers all commercial trucks that feature a gross combination mass of over 3500kg. This includes fridge trucks, box vans, Lutons, flatbeds, tippers plus ADR.

Confusion regarding HGV and LGV terms comes as a result of some people thinking that LGV stands for light goods vehicles – which is a pickup truck or van that can hold under 3500kg. In fact, such a term does not currently exist under UK law, and it is possible to drive up to 3.5 tonnes (3500kg) with your car driving licence under the category ‘B’ entitlement.

Where does the term HGV come from?

In the UK, vehicles are taxed according to their engines, construction, fuel type, weight, emissions, as well as their purpose for use.

The origin of the term ‘HGV’ comes from the time when tax discs were first used in the UK. These tax discs helped to categorise vehicles for tax purposes.

At this time, vehicles with a gross weight below 3500kg were referred to as light goods vehicles (LGVs) – although, as previously mentioned, this category does not currently exist under United Kingdom Law. In contrast, vehicles over 3500kg gross vehicle weight (for example grab trucks and tipper trucks) were known as heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). It was this early form of categorization which has led to confusion in the modern day.

In order to become aligned with European licence categories, vehicles over 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight were designated as trucks in 1992. At this point, LGV’s changed from being light goods vehicles to large goods vehicles, meaning that there is currently no difference between HGV and LGV.

However, now that the UK has left the European Union, it is very possible that this situation may change as the UK pivots to pre-1992 legislation.

Talk to HGV Hire Specialists

If you are looking for a reliable HGV hire company, look no further than working with N.D Brown. We provide tarmac hotbox hire, 4×4 truck hire, cage tipper hire, and grab hire in London, Manchester, the Midlands, and throughout the United Kingdom – whether you’re in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales. Our vehicles have been used in a variety of services, from road repairs, to construction, to waste removal.

Contact N.D Brown now for more information about all of our vehicles for hire or purchase.


About ND Brown

ND Brown Ltd is a specialist independent truck rental and sales company of over 40 years’ standing. Owned and operated by the same dedicated management team since its inception, ND Brown’s efforts are focused on supplying the utility, civil engineering, municipal and highway maintenance industries with high-quality modern HGV vehicles for both short and long-term self-drive hire.

From our sales division, we also sell a wide, but specialised range of new and used commercial vehicles.

Please call us on 01902 791991 or email us on