The deputy traffic commissioner (TC) for the North West has refused a restricted licence application after finding the firm had operated vehicles unlawfully and was engaged in hire or reward work.
Simon Evans called MH Excavations (Haulage & Demolition) to a public inquiry (PI) to discuss its application after a range of concerns were raised.
The company held a previous licence, which initially was a standard national goods vehicle licence but was then downgraded to restricted authorisation. This was terminated when continuation was not sought.
It then emerged that during the application process for a new restricted licence, a vehicle belonging to the business was spotted by ANPR over a seven-and-a-half month period.
There were also concerns about the haulier’s “awful” MoT pass record and that its work came under the definition of hire or reward, rather than restricted operations.
At the PI, MH Excavations’ director Michael O’Halloran said the failure to renew the old licence was his responsibility and that it was not a deliberate act, but
instead the result of negligence.
The company’s former transport manager Andrew Gilliburn said he had been aware of the need to renew and he had instructed the company accountant to make the relevant payment. But when he discovered it had not been renewed he immediately made a new application and told O’Halloran not to operate any vehicles.
“The director obviously ignored that advice,” said the deputy TC in his written decision.
However, Gilliburn said although he had been misled by the director, he had been prepared to continue his association with him because he felt some responsibility for the failure to renew the old licence.
Summing up, Evans said that the work being carried out – the transport of materials from demolished structures to a waste transfer facility
– was hire or reward work.
“I find that the wrong type of licence has been applied for and that concerns about the arrangements for the safe operation of vehicles raise real concerns,” he said.
However, Evans offered the operator some hope, saying that he would provide guidance on what would be required if a new application for a standard goods vehicle licence was made.