Facebook comments scupper skip hire application


A skip hire business has had its licence application refused after Facebook evidence emerged suggesting that it was already operating before a decision was made by the traffic commissioner.

In his written decision, West Midlands TC Nick Denton said there was considerable evidence that South Birmingham Skip Hire was operating without a licence, including “appreciative comments from customers” published on its Facebook page. Sole director Shane Baker appeared at a virtual PI due to concerns that his application was a means for disqualified director Christopher O’Donnell to circumvent licensing requirements.

O’Donnell had been director of Birmingham Skips until he attended a PI in 2020 due to insufficient finances and it became clear that he had acquired the assets of insolvent haulier Birmingham South Skips, despite statements to the contrary. The licence belonging to the Birmingham Skips was then revoked. At the latest PI, Baker told the TC he had no link with O’Donnell other than being employed as a driver for Birmingham Skips for a few months.

TC Denton asked him why bank statements for South Birmingham Skip Hire showed frequent large payments for fuel and numerous payments from various bodies and individuals with the reference ‘skip’. Baker claimed he had been providing waste removal services using builders’ bags and a van, but Denton was not convinced.

In his written decision, the TC said: “It was then drawn to my attention that the company’s Facebook page contained several photographs of skips clearly marked South Birmingham Skip Hire Ltd placed on public roads and being carried by an HGV.

“Mr Baker explained that he had had three skips painted in the South Birmingham Skip Hire livery in anticipation of the application being granted and, when that was not forthcoming by the seven week target date, had contracted with a man with a lorry to deliver and recover the skips. This person subsequently disappeared and was not contactable.”

Concluding, Denton said: “The balance of probability points heavily towards skip operations having already commenced in advance of the application being considered, and that the operation is a continuation of the business of the disqualified Birmingham Skips Ltd.”

He found that Baker was not a fit person to hold a licence and refused the application.


Romac adds 10 CNG Ivecos to fleet

Romac Logistics has put 10 new Iveco S-WAY CNG tractor unit into service on its fleet of 220 trucks.

The 4x2 units will operate across a number of contracts that include work for a national supermarket chain as well as trunking between major RDCs for an e-commerce business.

Powered by a 12.9-litre Natural Power Cursor 13 engine producing 460hp and 2,000Nm of torque, Romac has also specified the trucks with the largest possible AS cab as well as TomTom satellite navigation and 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Five of the gas trucks will be based out of Romac’s headquarters near Middleton in Manchester, with the other five working out of a depot in Wednesbury.

“Not only is there the important CO2 benefit, but there’s a cost advantage to gas fuelling so we intend to get these running as efficiently as possible, utilising them on double shifts over a 24hr period,” said Andy Newnes, Romac’s commercial director.

“CNG is something that we wanted to tap into as part of our sustainability agenda and that seems to resonate as a number of interested parties have approached us since we began shouting about the gas trucks,” he said.

Romac has partnered with CNG Fuels for a supply of 100% renewable biomethane, and with the trucks expected to cover around 160,000kms per year, an estimated 125 tonnes of CO2 will be saved per vehicle.

“CNG Fuels is delighted to be working with Romac Logistics and supporting them with their rollout of Bio-CNG trucks. These vehicles will be running on our 100% renewable and sustainable biomethane fuel, helping Romac and their clients achieve more than an 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” added Peter Eaton, sales & business director at CNG Fuels.

The trucks have been supplied by South West Truck & Van in Avonmouth on a 5-year IVECO Capital Operating Lease and will be covered by a 3XL repair and maintenance package.