Lack of funds costs Fort William haulier O-licence

Chris Tindall
February 13, 2019

A Fort William haulage firm has had its O-licence revoked after it failed to provide evidence of continuing financial standing or adequate arrangements to employ a transport manager during a period of grace.

Following a public inquiry in Inverness in October 2018, MacDiarmid Haulage was given until 9 January to find a new transport manager after TC Joan Aitken (pictured) disqualified the existing one, as well as demonstrate it had enough finances to operate five HGVs.

The PI was originally called after a DVSA vehicle examiner passed an adverse report to the TC’s office. One of the company’s trailers had been issued with an S marked immediate prohibition after nine immediate defects were discovered at the roadside in March 2018. A few days later, an immediate variation prohibition for a tyre failure was issued by the examiner on the same trailer, followed by a further variation prohibition being imposed for an inoperative service brake.

A maintenance investigation at the operator’s premises revealed decelerometer tests not recorded; no three monthly roller brake tests; a high MOT fail rate and a high prohibition rate, among other deficiencies. The vehicle examiner formed the view that transport manager Graham Cooper did not have effective and continuous management of the transport activities and was relying on director Donald MacDiarmid.

Ahead of the PI, Cooper wrote to the TCs’ office in which he said he took full responsibility for the shortcomings and that he would resign.

Despite the TC pointing out that getting evidence from MacDiarmid was like “pulling teeth” and disqualifying Cooper permanently, she gave the company director until 9 January to nominate a new transport manager and show evidence of continuing financial standing, or else the licence would be revoked.

In a follow-up written decision, TC Aitken said MacDiarmid had rung and emailed the Edinburgh caseworker with a copy of his sister’s CPC on the final deadline day. There was no additional documentation to show that she had accepted the appointment of transport manager or what hours she would be working. MacDiarmid also emailed bank statements which did not show continuing financial standing.

On 10 January, MacDiarmid emailed a bank statement showing a deposit that day of £20,000 from a John MacDiarmid, which could cover financial standing for the future if retained, but by this point the TC had lost her patience. She revoked the licence with effect from 23.59 on 15 February, but held back from making any orders of disqualification.

She wrote: “I have referred myself to the decision I took following the Public Inquiry on 16 October 2018 and the lack of engagement I found in Mr MacDiarmid. I gave him a chance and a reasonable deadline given what he told me he expected to do to remedy the deficiencies in the licence. He has failed to meet that deadline and what he has produced goes only so far to meet the mandatory requirements for an operator licence.

“I have to take my own orders seriously. They cannot be idle threats,” she added.

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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.

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