Kent operator D Nuttall has had its O-licence revoked and its proprietor disqualified from obtaining a licence for two years after a string of irregularities in the company’s operation.
South East traffic commissioner (TC) Sarah Bell issued a written decision last week after a public inquiry (PI) because she said she did not trust that “Nuttall will operate under any licence in a compliant manner moving forward”.
The latest inquiry was the operator’s fourth PI.
The TC cited several offences in her written decision, including the fact that Nuttall, who also has a Romanian O-licence, had a vehicle on that licence impounded under cabotage rules. D Nuttall also failed to notify the TC of changes in maintenance arrangements.
In addition, the operator’s maintenance documentation produced for the TC in April raised significant concerns. There was no brake testing regime; a number of maintenance checks did not include tyre pressures and tread depths; driver defect reports were recorded as nil where the maintenance checks actually include items that should have been driver reportable; and even when a check found the vehicle not roadworthy, it was unclear what work had been done to rectify matters.
The written decision added: “The daily driver defect inspection records were a mess, many were loose and not in order. There were three separate driver defect inspection sheets dated 8 January for the same driver. Two are in the same book but five serial numbered pages apart and one was loose.
“This calls into question the veracity of systems and if sheets are completed contemporaneously with the walk-around check.”
TC Bell also addressed claims by Nuttall that he had been ill recently.
She wrote: “Nuttall has referred a number of time to serious ill health. However, I have not received any independent evidence in support of this. In any event, it is for Nuttall to ensure that there are robust systems in place to ensure that each day vehicles are on the road they are safe.
“On the face of the chronology above this case involves an almost ongoing breach of trust. Nuttall presented himself as defensive and argumentative from the outset. He talked about me working with him to enable him to increase his authorisation and effectively give him a break.
“Regrettably, Nuttall is confused about the purpose of my role. In such circumstances, a UK operator must be in a position to provide me with evidence so that I can be satisfied as to ongoing compliance and respect for the O-licensing regime standards and principles.”
For his part, Nuttall said the significant failings in with the maintenance regime had “come as a bit of a shock”.
Bell’s decision to disqualify Nuttall for two years from holding a licence and her simultaneous decision to revoke the firm’s licence will both take effect from 8 June.
The company’s head office is at Lympne, Hythe, Kent.