Leighton Buzzard operator loses O-licence after failure to prove financial evidence


A haulier which repeatedly failed to supply evidence of financial viability and did not appear when called to a public inquiry has lost both its O-licence and its repute.

NCH Logistics, which had an operating centre in Leighton Buzzard, was called to appear before senior traffic comissioner (TC) Richard Turfitt in February after it emerged that despite being granted a licence subject to supplying financial evidence no such evidence has been forthcoming. Turfitt gave his written decision last week (2 March).

The PI heard that the company and its named directors, Andrew Broadhead and Richard Thomas Broadhead, had been given several opportunities to supply proof of financial standing.

Even after they failed to supply that evidence by the end of January 2017, as had been asked, they were asked again if they could provide evidence for March to May of 2017. They did then provide some evidence but it was not enough to meet the required sum.

It was then suggested to the operator that it provide evidence of a factoring facility, said to be available through Skipton Finance, but the information supplied was again not satisfactory.

At this point Andrew Broadhead requested a PI and in December the TC wrote to call the firm to last month’s inquiry.

However, on the morning of the PI Andrew Broadhead telephoned to say that ne could not attend because of ill health. Later it was said that Richard Broadhead could not appear because he was “in China”.

The TC said that because good evidence of financial standing was never supplied he had to find against the firm on those grounds and he added that even if the operator was ignorant of the requirements they should have sought proper advice.

Turfitt added: “At no point did the operator or its directors seek to withdraw the request for a public inquiry. In pursuing that request they incurred valuable tribunal time which might equally have been deployed to the hearing of other cases, including those seeking to enter the industry and who are willing to comply with the terms of the O-licensing system, including undertakings given at grant.

"The approach, whereby operators use the proposal to revoke system to request a public inquiry as a means of delaying the inevitable, is to be deprecated. It has a negative impact on the resources of the Office of the Traffic Commissioner and therefore the ability to regulate.”

The TC concluded that NCH was not a responsible operator and therefore withdrew its repute as well as its financial standing. The licence was revoked from February 26 2018.