Unauthorised vehicle use ends in application refusal

Chris Tindall
May 4, 2021

A West Yorkshire sole trader has had its licence application refused after a deputy traffic commissioner criticised its “blatant breach” of the regulations.

Thomas John Howarth had originally applied for a standard goods vehicle licence for two vehicles and two trailers, but during the process he changed its application to a restricted licence for just one vehicle. However, the application drew attention to the DVSA because it did not disclose a previous sole trader licence held by Howarth, nor that a licence in the name of Howarth International Transport had been revoked in February 2020.

In a written decision following a public inquiry held in Leeds, deputy TC Simon Evans said DVSA checks using ANPR technology had revealed 26 sightings of two vehicles belonging to Howarth being used on the roads during the application process. Neither of the vehicles were taxed. Further investigations revealed more extensive unlawful vehicle use and without vehicle excise duty being paid.

In written representations, Howarth said it was “conceivable” one of the vehicles had been used by him for straw transport and that a third party haulier had not been employed because few of them had the right equipment, “or possessed the experience or expertise to load and secure straw bales”.

The DTC said he could not characterise the use of the vehicles as being by mistake, nor that competitive advantage had not been gained: “The applicant has placed his business ahead of the needs for compliance,” he said. The application was refused.

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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