UK driving licences not valid for french residents?

I've posted this on a couple of sites & the replies are making good reading.Things are a lot clearer if my blog is read before one replies, though! Also, please note that the title has a question mark at the end!

I don't want to worry you, but...
Watching a "Road Wars" episode on TV recently a policeman reported a driver for not having his correct home address on his licence, pointing out that he could be fined up to £1000!
Although it is perfectly legal to be a french resident & continue to use your UK licence here, subject to certain conditions, it cannot comply with UK law because you cannot put your residential address on it. (It must have your current UK residential address for which you must be a UK resident - if you live here you are not a UK resident.)
You can lie, of course - obtaining goods or services by deception or fraud - but it does not get over the fact that somebody has not thought this through!
As we already know, this goes against European Directive 91/439/EEC.
How has this been allowed to happen?
I have been doing some research into this & been digging for a soloution.
My findings to date can be found on

I am still waiting for replies from the DVLA who have also been contacted by the MP of my old UK address. The Foreign Office (Legislation dept) replied thus - We are writing to advise that the only service we provide here at the Legalisation Office in Milton Keynes is to legalise or apostille UK public documents for use in a foreign country. Your enquiry does not seem to relate to the legalisation of documents for use overseas, and therefore we are sorry but we are unable to assist with your enquiry or offer any further guidance. It would have been nice if they had passed it on to the relevent dept, but it must be a secret.

Update on UK licences not valid for French residents.

It's been a few weeks since I first posted this slightly alarming story and I have had replies from the DVLA through my old UK MP Sir Roger Gale as my own attempts to communicate directly could not elicit a reply.
Although in the scheme of things my query is not of major import, it nevertheless received the full attention of Sir Roger and his staff and was dealt with promptly. The request was simple - could the DVLA explain how we Brits, when visiting the UK using our UK licences, could avoid a £1000 fine for not having our current UK address on said licence as UK law insists. The Road Traffic Act (1988) section 99 states:-

(4)Where the name or address of the licence holder as specified in a licence ceases to be correct, its holder must forthwith surrender the licence to the Secretary of State and provide him with particulars of the alterations falling to be made in the name or address and, in the case of a provisional licence as respects which the prescribed conditions are satisfied, with a statement of his sex and date of birth.
(5)A person who fails to comply with the duty under subsection (4) above is guilty of an offence.

Apparently this does not apply to UK licence holders who are just visiting the UK. How we are meant to convince a copper that we are just visiting and this piece of law does not therefore apply is not made clear. The production of an EDF bill only proves that we have a property of some kind here, it does not prove residency. Would it also be a bit presumptious of us to expect the average copper to be a french speaker and understans what french document was being shown to him?
Where does it say that we do not have to comply with the law? I contacted Sir Roger again who in turn contacted the DVLA. The replies are attached.

The sensible thing seemed to contact the police to see how they would perceive the situation. I sent:-

Dear sirs,
I am trying to establish how a British French resident can meet the legal obligation of a UK licence with reference to the holder’s address. It is, I believe, an offence for a licence holder to not have his current address on his licence & can be fined up to £1000.
I have published the following on various websites & wish to provide an answer.MP Sir Roger Gale has approached the DVLA on my behalf & received the reply which I include here. This does not answer the question as I’m sure that just telling a police officer that I live in France does not go far enough & perhaps some proof would be asked for. We no longer have to carry a residents permit here & all other forms with a French address would only prove the ownership of a house here which could be just a holiday home. Can you give me a definitive answer as to what the average policeman would accept for this situation so that I can pass this on to the ex-pat community?
Many thanks.

The reply:-

Thank you for your contact however the advice I need to give is to liaise with the DLVA in relation to this matter.

This I shall do on my own as I feel that my MP and his staff have devoted enough of their time on this when there are more serious issues to address.
I shall try and find a legal eagle and see if I can find an answer.

Bit of a distraction, but perhaps people might know the ironic bit. France is running late with the credit card size photocard that the UK has had for years but it will come some time this year, but the UK is going to take the EU flag off which might cause confusion given that the cops here will have some kind of circular of a picture of the new card with the EU flag. All because one of the Europhobic chappies put a motion to the House of Commons when there were more pressing issues and got a vote to support it when only 30 odd MPs were present and he had apparently mustered a majority from the bar. Don't ya love it all?

I think that most coppers there would accept your word that you live in France but you might get a real "jobsworth" who will want to prosecute. Despite my research I cannot find a decent defence to this offence. It's the fact that there is conflicting advice being given by different departments in the UK that is the worry. I would have expected a more cohesive response. I can't help feeling that if there was a simple answer to this I would have got one by now. My MP wrote to the DVLA after I sent him a copy of my blog " must be relatively straightforward to provide a substantive response to the concerns expressed in Mr Rimmer’s article." But it's only been a week.

Of course a Uk licence is valid in France & in all EU countries except, apparently,the UK! This is because, according to the DVLA & the UK police, it is an offence to fail to have your current UK resisential address on it, punishable with a fine of up to £1000. So although your UK licence is valid here according to the British Consulate in Paris & the EU, it ceases to be valid if you visit the UK. That is the anomily!

When I spoke to the DVLA about this I was told that as the french government website says that an EU licence can be used in any other EU country provide that it is a) valid , b) being used..., that without your correct UK residential address on it (which we french residents do not have) your licence cannot be valid! Therefore...

Over now nearly four years I have been stopped by those routine checks who flag everybody down. Some of those people have seen both my card and paper version umpteen times. On one occasion an overenthusiastic young gendarme tried lecturing me about it being compulsory to trade in for a French licence, to which I responded by asking the very familiar older officer if that was the case. He gave the younger colleague a mild dressing down, telling him that it did not matter where the licence came from as long as it is EU and valid for at least another six months for people resident here.

That may well go against what you are saying here Mark and if that is where the misinformed police forces stand then that is fine by me until we are told otherwise at the level you are aiming at and that becomes wider public information. As it is, I am only waiting for the photo card delay to be resolved then I shall swap anyway. I am such a boringly law abiding driver that I am not really worried about be pulled for an offence here but should I drive in the UK at any time a foreign licence might just tempt me to have fun.

Very interesting! Look forward to seeing the outcome.