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PI postponements result in O-licence revocation

HMRC

An operator that managed to prolong its licence for seven months by postponing two public inquiries (PIs) despite having insufficient financial resources has now had it revoked.

West Midlands traffic commissioner (TC) Nicholas Denton issed a written decision saying that he was not prepared to accept the voluntary surrender of the licence by Wolverhampton-based Khan Pallets and he revoked it with immediate effect.

Denton’s patience had run thin after the operator initially failed to respond to the central licensing office (CLO) in Leeds, which contacted the company last year to find out why its application to operate five lorries for a further five years showed it lacked financial resources. There were also indications that it had left its authorised operating centre.

The TC’s office wrote to Khan Pallets in December 2019, explaining that its licence would be revoked unless it requested a PI.

The company’s director, Inamullah Munir, responded saying he had been absent on leave, and requesting a PI for 19 March.

Two days before the PI, Munir contacted the TC’s office to say he could not attend for health reasons and requested a postponement, which was allowed after it agreed to curtail its licence to two HGVs.

A virtual PI was then scheduled for 10 June, but a week before it was due to take place, the operator’s solicitors contacted the TC’s office to say the company could not participate and to ask if the director could appear at a PI in person at a later date.

TC Denton agreed to this second postponement, with a hearing scheduled for 16 July.

However, the TC said that on 13 July, he received an email from the solicitors saying they were no longer acting for Khan Pallets as their attempts to communicate with it had failed.

The CLO then received a surrender request from the operator and the TC moved to revoke the licence.

“Twice, a public inquiry has been postponed at the behest of the operator,” he said. “On the third occasion, the operator submitted a surrender request seven days before the inquiry was due.

“The company’s prevarications have in effect enabled it to prolong the licence from 27 December 2019 until the present day.”