Two directors who “stressed to the point of destruction” the O-licence regime, moved between two firms and ignored tax and insurance requirements have been disqualified.
Senior TC Richard Turfitt described the situation regarding Great Yarmouth-based partnership A&D Transport and Highgate Transport as “a bad case” and said it was appropriate for licence holders Andrew and Douglas Smith to be disqualified for three and 10 years respectively.
In a written decision following a Cambridge PI, the STC said the partners had been at a previous PI in 2016 when he had made a host of adverse findings in relation to non-notification of a change in transport manager, prohibitions and breach of undertakings to keep vehicles fit and serviceable.
The operators’ repute was tarnished and they received a warning about their future compliance.
However, Turfitt said his previous suspicions proved to be correct and the partnership turned out to be “a sham”.
Roadworthiness prohibitions had been issued, a drivers’ hours and tacho offence notice were issued and both companies allowed untaxed vehicles to be operated and on one occasion with no insurance.
Turfitt said: “The operator licence regime cannot be stressed to the point of destruction by individuals who move between licences, ignore the basic requirements for tax and insurance through their control of vehicles; nor can I allow individuals to allow their names to continue to be used for licensing purposes when they have long since ceased to exercise oversight, if they ever did.
“It is appropriate for both individuals to be disqualified from holding or obtaining an operator’s licence and also from being involved in management, administration or control of the transport operations of an entity that holds or obtain such a licence in Great Britain.”
The STC added that the efforts of transport manager Wendy Smith had not amounted to continuous and effective management: “It is not even close,” he said.
“She failed to meet the statutory duty across two operator licences even following recent CPC refresher training, upon which basis she was permitted to be appointed.”
As a result, the STC disqualified the transport manager for a minimum of 10 years: “She can seek to vary the disqualification, but it is difficult to conceive how any such application might succeed in a period under 10 years from the date of this decision,” he added.