A father and son haulage firm that persistently failed to respond to requests from the DVSA and the office of the TC for financial and compliance information has had its licence revoked. In addition, North East deputy traffic commissioner (DTC) Simon Evans said he was “frankly dismayed” that the transport manager of Northumberland-based JP Transport, Tracy Chappell, had also failed to respond to the calling-in letter and he disqualified her indefinitely.
The Sleekburn operator was granted its international licence in 2019 with an undertaking that it provide financial standing information. The firm was unresponsive to repeated reminders until almost nine months later, by which time the DTC said a decision by the haulier had been made to cease trading.
However, concerned that compliance standards might have suffered, a DVSA desk based assessment was undertaken, but this was delayed by a request from JP Transport for an extension to the time limit to provide information. The company then told the office of the TC that accidental water damage and a subsequent fire caused damage to a laptop and a backup USB drive. Follow-up maintenance investigations were recorded as unsatisfactory.
As a result, a PI was scheduled, but the operator never acknowledged the calling-in letter, didn’t provide the requested information and business partners Philip and Joshua Chappell failed to attend the virtual PI, along with the transport manager.
In his written decision, DTC Evans said: “There has been little, or no understanding shown by the operator of its responsibilities to the regulator. The apparent failure to engage in the regulatory process or attend the hearing is a serious concern in that regard.
“The findings of DVSA reflect fundamental concerns in terms of compliance in what is, of course, a very modest business. Examples include that records do not show any defects ever identified by the driver in 92,000kms of driving, preventive maintenance inspections came-in house without notice and the vehicle unit of the single vehicle in use had never been downloaded during the life of the licence.”
However, the DTC did note that these concerns were not mirrored in prohibitions issued or in the MOT failure rate. Nevertheless, Evans said it was entirely justified that the firm was excluded from the industry and he disqualified the partners indefinitely.