Metal recycler's repute tarnished

An Essex operator that failed to achieve compliance even after the DVSA intervened has had its licence curtailed by three vehicles.

M&A Metals, which trades as Spartan Metal Recycling out of Grays, appeared before the Eastern region traffic commissioner following a vehicle stop by the enforcement agency. A traffic examiner found that the lorry’s tachograph unit did not have a company lock in place and its data had never been downloaded. The transport manager of the company was not contactable during further enquiries by the DVSA and none of Spartan’s three directors were available either.

A report by the traffic examiner highlighted a raft of shortcomings, including no driver training, no driving licence checks, no journey planning and no system to monitor and maintain compliance with the working time directive. In evidence presented at a Cambridge public inquiry, company director Isabel Neves said it had recruited a replacement to transport manager Raymond Blackley, after she became aware he had been disqualified for three years in 2018. Michael Kelly had been nominated and the TC said he was impressed by his knowledge and was persuaded he could exercise effective and continuous management. However, he was less impressed with an up-to-date assessment by the DVSA, which still found a long list of compliance failures at the firm.

In a written decision, the TC said that although this was Spartan’s first PI, intervention was required. He cut the licence from four HGVs to three for a month and added: “Its repute is now severely tarnished but it has been allowed to continue trading.”

‘Total ignorance’ spells revocation for scaffolder

Tachograph

A St Neots scaffolding company with “one of the worst scores” a TC had ever seen in a DVSA assessment has had its licence revoked.

Crusaders Scaffolding appeared before TC Richard Turfitt at a Cambridge PI after concerns were raised that the operator was using an unauthorised operating centre in Southampton. Following an interview with company director Gary Driver, DVSA officers said the firm had “a near total absence of suitable compliance systems”. There were no maintenance arrangements, driver defect reporting or forward planning and safety inspections were not being managed.

Driver admitted that he thought scaffolders were exempt from tachograph requirements and that he had relied on an unauthorised centre to park his vehicle because he was getting more work away from the Eastern traffic area. In addition, transport consultant Graham Doughty acknowledged that Driver’s knowledge was “lacking to the point of total ignorance”

TC Turfitt said the case fell within the ‘severe’ category and that it was “a bad case where the examiners noted very little in terms of compliance systems.” In his written decision, he said that a desk based assessment carried out shortly before the PI showed little evidence that systems subsequently put in place were working, but that changes were being made.

The TC said: “I have heard about the increasing work on the south coast. There has been no application to address the fact that the vehicle is regularly being kept overnight when not in use at a depot where there is no authority and in another traffic area. There are promises to correct that. I was told that any action beyond a few weeks would jeopardise the entire business but that would not reflect the seriousness of the failings nor the current position.”

He added that the operator was not fit to hold a licence but that his intervention was designed to “provide a limited opportunity to demonstrate whether it and its single director can deliver the basic requirements of the operator’s licence.” As a result, he decided not to disqualify the operator, but he revoked the licence and said if it could demonstrate it was capable of ensuring compliance then a new application might be granted.