TIP Skips’ O-licence appeal dismissed by Upper Tribunal

Commercial Motor
November 20, 2018

The Upper Tribunal has dismissed an appeal by a Wigan skip operator against the refusal of an operator’s licence.

Traffic commissioner (TC) Simon Evans turned down the application for an O-licence in February by TIP Skips on several grounds, including unsatisfactory maintenance, the failure to renew an old licence and operating without a licence for several months after the old one expired.

During the public inquiry (PI) into the new licence application by the skip firm’s operator, Mr C Ingram, Ingram admitted that he did not realise that his old licence had expired until the TC’s office informed him some time after expiry in December 2016. He then immediately applied for a new one.

He also admitted operating a large goods vehicle once the licence had expired, although he said that he did not take on any new business and only collected skips that were already hired out. When confronted with evidence that one of his vehicles had driven 8,000km during a period which included a large part of time when he held no licence, Ingram said that much of this had been driving around his farm.

However, he later conceded that “to be honest, I was trying to squeeze out of the trouble, as I didn’t know the answer to the 8,000km”. Evans said at the PI that Ingram’s evidence was “unimpressive, confused and contradictory” and “he appeared to be creating new explanations as he went along, to seek to explain away questions he was unable to answer”.

There was “a clear attempt to mislead me as to the true extent of his role in the skip hire business”. Jonathan Backhouse of Backhouse Jones solicitors, representing Ingram, said Ingram accepted he had an adverse regulatory history, but said the TC had failed to consider positive steps taken in the company after a PI in 2013.

Backhouse also argued that there appeared to be no evidence that the TC’s office had issued a notice of the impending termination of his last licence, as normally happens. In its written decision Judge Edward Mitchell said: “We agree with the TC that the question whether or not Ingram received a notice of impending termination of his previous restricted licence was really beside the point.

"Mr Backhouse’s points about the limited nature of Mr Ingram’s business during the period of unlicensed operation (ie he broke the law but only a little bit) are an attempt to argue the facts afresh, rather than an argument that the TC made an error of fact or law.”

The appeal was dismissed and Ingram was given one month in which to wind-up the business.

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