Queen’s Speech is a missed opportunity for reform, says FTA

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The Queen’s Speech is a missed opportunity to implement long-awaited reforms of the Operator Licensing system which governs commercial vehicle operations in the UK, says The Freight Transport Association (FTA).

Every operator must have an Operator Licence registering its business and premises from where it operates HGVs in the relevant area of the country. Currently, licences usually take nine weeks to turn around due to the outdated system which requires an advert to be placed in a local newspaper within 21 days before or after the application date.

James Firth, FTA’s head of licensing policy and compliance information, said: “The Traffic Commissioners are telling us that a lack of reform of this legislation is the key barrier to improving licence processing times.

“The system has failed to keep pace with the dynamic nature of the logistics industry and is now stifling progress and growth. Our members have customers waiting but their business is paralysed until the licence is granted.”

The issue was identified in the 2015 independent review of the Operator Licensing system, and the subsequent Government implementation plan identified it as a recommendation which would be taken forward. 

Firth said: “The implementation plan told us not to expect the legislation to be revised before 2018, but the failure to announce a review in an otherwise quite slender Queen’s Speech now means the Government is dragging its feet on this issue.

“Whilst Brexit Bills will take up much parliamentary time, potential laws in other sectors have been abandoned so some time should now be available for what are politically uncontentious measures that would help with business efficiency. 

“FTA is disappointed it has not taken the opportunity to listen to its own regulators and reform and streamline the commercial vehicle regulatory system.”

The Government’s 2015 Implementation Plan also proposed the creation of a single GB traffic area and plans to be able to recover costs of expensive public inquiries from non-compliant operators, both of which would require amendment to legislation. 


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