Repute retained after operator’s wake-up call

suspended suspension

A Kettering construction waste operator that displayed a “passionate commitment to compliance” has had its licence suspended for 14 days after a DVSA investigation uncovered a host of failings.

Storefield Aggregates appeared at a Cambridge public inquiry before TC Richard Turfitt after one of its vehicles was issued with an S-marked prohibition for a worn out tyre tread. A subsequent DVSA investigation found that the company’s pro-forma inspection records did not have a section for tyre tread depths and inspections did not record tyre pressures. In addition, its records showed brakes being adjusted and a Tapley brake test carried out, but no roller brake tests other than at annual test; no wheel retorque log; drivers defect reports did not appear to be completed and a high prohibition rate.

However, directors Douglas Wright and Jonah Clarke, who is also transport manager, were able to demonstrate a significant number of improvements introduced within the business, which Turfitt said “weigh heavily in the balance”.

In a written decision, the TC credited the operator for recognising elements of the operation required improved risk management, as well as for continuing to maintain its fleet of 16 HGVs during the lockdown. As a result, he found that the operator and transport manager’s repute was tarnished, not lost, but as a deterrent action the licence was suspended for two weeks.

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.”