AdBlue ‘cheat device’ hauliers win their appeals

Chris Tindall
March 11, 2020

Two hauliers whose vehicles were found to have AdBlue emulators fitted have had appeals against their O-licence curtailment and revocations allowed and the cases sent back for a rehearing.

Midland Container Logistics (MCL) and DK Barnsley & Sons (DKB) will now get another chance at public inquiries to retain their current O-licence authorisations after the appeal tribunal found the original TC decisions were “procedurally unfair”.

Three AdBlue emulators were found inside trucks belonging to MCL and the West Midlands TC ordered that its O-licence was curtailed from 28 HGVs to five for 14 days and thereafter to 22 for an indefinite period.

MCL appealed, arguing that it was inappropriate for the TC to have compared the fitting of an emulator to the fitting of a magnet to a tachograph and the tribunal agreed.

It said the latter offence is punishable by imprisonment and the comparison should not have been made in the PI.

It also found that the TC’s comments that the transport manager had fitted the emulators “out of ignorance rather than deliberate deceit” was inconsistent with his subsequent conclusion that the fitment amounted to “three serious acts of deception”.

In the case of DKB, the original PI resulted in its licence being revoked after an emulator was found wired into the emissions control system of one of its vehicles.

However, the tribunal allowed the company’s appeal, stating that questions over the likelihood that the device was removed by the director before it was examined by a Volvo dealer should have been put to him during the PI.

It also said the West of England TC did not make clear to the company that he was considering finding that the hire agreement of the truck containing the emulator was a sham; a finding that the tribunal stated “in all likelihood weighed heavily into the balance when considering the level of regulatory action appropriate in DKB’s case.”

In addition, the TC’s conclusion that listing DKB director Daren Barnsley’s son Callum as a fellow director was “a fraudulent act of convenience” was a serious finding, which should also have been raised before he made his decision.

The tribunal concluded: “We are satisfied that the TCs’ decisions were procedurally unfair and as a result we are impelled to allow these appeals.”

About the Author


Chris Tindall

Chris Tindall started writing for the haulage and logistics industry in 2002 and has covered a broad range of significant issues, including GPS jamming by criminals, platooning and Brexit.

Share this article

Vehicle Type