Councils could become responsible for deciding the suitability of a haulier’s operating centre, under plans that have been outlined by the traffic commissioners (TCs).
The TCs said they would seek legislative change for an improved O-licensing system and one area in need of overhauling they described as “long overdue” was the current approach to operating centres.
In their latest annual report, the TCs said the government had previously accepted the case for changing the law requiring hauliers to place adverts in local newspapers to advertise their operating centre applications. “There is general confusion over the extent of a commissioner’s powers and how that intersects with the powers of the planning authorities,” the report said.
“Experiences during and since the pandemic have shown that provisions requiring publication in hard copy and circulating within the locality are now outdated, while the cost of advertising has risen significantly.
“This type of decision, which impacts on the local community, may be better made by local representatives.
“Local authorities are already charged with considering planning applications and have developed the expertise to consider the impact on the relevant local community.”
The TCs’ report also revealed their support for a revamp of the current fee structure, after a recent government review described the system as “flawed” and pointed to the flat-rate fee structure, which places a disproportionate burden on smaller and medium-sized operators.