Operators, who need to apply for an extension to meet financial standing tests or appoint a new transport manager, are being warned their licences could be revoked if the mandatory requirements are not met when the time expires.
The Office of the Traffic Commissioner is reminding licence holders that a period of grace can only be granted for a maximum of six months and that the financial or transport manager issues have to be remedied before the period of grace ends. In the event of the death of a transport manager, the period of grace can be extended to nine months.
A spokesperson for the Office of the Traffic Commissioner said: “Traffic commissioners are not obliged to allow a period of grace but will always carefully consider any application.
“They have to strike a balance between allowing operators a period of time to rectify the situation and ensuring there is a level playing field for operators who continue to meet the mandatory criteria.”
Where mandatory licence requirements are not met, the law requires traffic commissioners to revoke an operator’s authority unless a period of grace has been applied for and granted. If the operator fails to rectify the issues within the period of grace, the same legal obligation to revoke will then apply.
The reminder follows the withdrawal of an appeal by Albany Waste Services against an order to revoke the company’s licence, after it failed to comply even after being allowed a four month period of grace to show financial standing and professional competence granted by the Traffic Commissioner for the East of England. The Upper Tribunal refused to stay that decision pending any appeal.
The original inquiry, which took place on 06 May 2016, followed an investigation by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) into maintenance shortcomings. The company’s transport manager was allowed to resign during the hearing, meaning the licence no longer satisfied professional competence. The financial evidence produced to the hearing also failed to meet the minimum level required for the type and size of licence held by the company.
The Traffic Commissioner granted a four month period of grace for the operator to provide satisfactory financial evidence and nominate a new transport manager and warned that failing to comply before the end of the period of grace would lead to revocation of the licence.
Although the company nominated a replacement CPC holder, but only after the period of grace expired, the Traffic Commissioner remained to be satisfied that professional competence would be met. No further financial evidence was received.
As the maximum period of grace time had expired, the company’s licence had to be revoked.
Offering advice to licence holders who are currently subject to a period of grace or may need to apply for one, the Traffic Commissioner’s spokesperson said: “This case shows there are serious consequences where operators fail to rectify the issues before any period of grace ends.
“Operators who are given extra time need to be proactive as soon as the period of grace is granted. Traffic commissioners will not approve periods of grace simply to put off revocation for a few more months.
“The extra time is granted so that operators can actively secure the future of their licence and demonstrate continuing commitment to compliance with the licensing regime.”
The Senior Traffic Commissioner’s Statutory Documents on Finance and Transport Managers both offer guidance on applying for periods of grace.