Operator fails to convince TC on hire and reward case

Chris Tindall
February 7, 2023

A skip hire company that tried applying for a restricted O-licence and then took the case to a public inquiry (PI) has had its application refused by the traffic commissioner (TC).

TC Nick Denton said it would be unfair on other operators if he granted Leicester-based Wigston Skip Hire restricted authorisation to run two HGVs when the firm was likely to be undertaking hire and reward work.

The central licensing office contacted sole trader James March after receiving his application and sought more information about the nature of his business to establish whether a standard national licence would be appropriate.

In his written decision, TC Denton said March claimed that all skip hire businesses in his area were operating under a restricted licence:

“And I do not mean companies with waste transfer stations,” March wrote. “I mean business owners who are operating exactly the same as me with one or even two vehicles hiring out skips to local residents and transporting the waste to other people’s waste transfer stations.”

At a subsequent PI in Cambridge, transport consultant Chris Harris told the TC that the skips and the waste would belong to March; waste was not “goods” in the traditional sense and therefore goods in transit insurance was not necessary; requiring March to apply for a standard licence would put him at a competitive disadvantage to all the other skip operators in the area that traded under a restricted licence. Harris then provided the TC with a list of all those operators.

However, Denton disagreed: “Local residents will pay Mr March to transport their waste in a skip from their homes to a waste transfer station operated by a third entity,” he explained. “The predominant part of the operation would therefore appear to be the transport of goods – goods are defined as a ‘burden’ on the vehicle, they need not be valuable or insurable – and therefore ‘likely to fall within the definition of hire or reward’.”

On the subject of fair competition, he said that over the last few years, TCs had been “more robust” when applying the hire and reward definition and they would be reviewing previous decisions: “As the restricted licences of such businesses have fallen for renewal, the opportunity has been taken to require them to upgrade to standard national licences or face having their restricted licences revoked.”

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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