Conviction for ‘pig-headed’ haulage boss

An agricultural haulage boss has been branded “pig-headed” by a judge after he repeatedly ignored warnings about burning waste on his land illegally. Father and son David and Nicholas Channer, partners at Amersham haulier J Channer & Sons, ignored waste management laws and were convicted following an investigation by the Environment Agency (EA).

The company holds a standard national operator’s licence authorising four lorries and six trailers out of its Buckinghamshire premises. The pair were caught continually storing and setting light to rubbish at their farm at Mop End, putting the environment at risk.

High Wycombe Magistrates heard how the two accumulated everything from wood and metal to waste from two agricultural concerns and then set light to it as a cheaper alternative to authorised disposal.

When asked to explain their actions, the Channers told the agency they either hadn’t seen letters from crime officers, or were unaware exemptions from permits for managing the waste had expired. Nicholas Channer was sent to prison for 13 months, including five months for breaching an unrelated suspended sentence and his father received a six-month jail term, suspended for two years.

Charlotte Milton, an EA senior environmental crime officer, said: “David and Nicholas Channer have been rightly punished by the courts for riding roughshod over the law around managing waste safely and securely. The men had no system in place to limit the amount or type of waste held at Mop End Farm, nor did they establish measures to protect the environment or human health.”

Munford licence application refused after unlawful vehicle use

The North East deputy traffic commissioner has refused an application by the son of a formerly disqualified operator, after evidence emerged one of its vehicles had been driven for 36,000km without an O-licence.

Kevin Munford had applied for a licence for four vehicles and six trailers in the name of Stirk House Logistics, but during the application process he was pulled over twice by DVSA officers and found to be driving unlawfully. When challenged by the DVSA, Munford claimed to be working for a company called Riley Plant & Demolition, but through his solicitors he later claimed that this was meant as “a joke”, because he was carrying hay and it was obvious he wasn’t working for a demolition firm.

The operator appeared before DTC Simon Evans at a Leeds public inquiry due to the unlawful use of an HGV, but also because of Munford’s links to previous failed licences. These included Geoffrey Munford – in the name of Kevin’s father – which was surrendered in 2011; Geoffrey F Munford, which entered administration in 2013; Munford Haulage, which had its licence revoked in 2016 and for which Kevin was transport manager; and a second licence, again under the name of Munford Haulage, for which Kevin was director and which entered liquidation in December 2019.

In a written decision, the DTC acknowledged that the latest licence application was not required to support the former container haulage work, which had been the main feature of earlier family licences. He added that he had no concerns in Kevin’s son Steven being the proposed transport manager and that financial standing was comfortably met.

However, Evans also said that even though there had been delays during the pandemic in getting applications to hearings, the coronavirus was no justification for the operator driving an HGV without a licence. “The extent of the use of the vehicle has been very great with many kilometres covered,” the DTC said. “I find that I cannot accept the explanation offered about the initial response to DVSA during which he named another operator, said to be a joke, albeit I do accept that the falsity was soon abandoned.” He added: “I find on the balance of probabilities that the requirement of good repute is not presently met.”