Lack of preparation at central licensing office over new rules is bizarre, says former senior traffic commissioner



The former senior traffic commissioner has criticised the central licensing office for its apparent lack of preparation in the run-up to new rules that bring a range of vehicles within the scope of operator licensing, describing it as “bizarre”.

Philip Brown said he had taken calls from several operators who had not been granted licences on the eve of the changes, which came into effect for operators of volumetric concrete mixers on 1 September.

Companies using these vehicles now need operator licences and volumetric drivers must also work to EU drivers’ hours and working time rules.

Tachograph analysis firm TruTac has already warned that firms could “fall into a dangerous trap” if they are not prepared and Brown said he had spoken to firms that had not yet been granted a licence.

“I got a phone call from a transport consultant saying a client had applied in July and no-one had done anything about it in Leeds,” he said. “It’s bizarre”.

Brown, who now acts as a consultant solicitor at AMD, said he’d dealt with another company that had applied for a licence in April and had also heard nothing back from the Office of the Transport Commissioner.

“They have just been plying their trade and made an application and nothing happened,” he said.

“What annoyed me was no-one prioritised it and probably no-one told them to prioritise it.

“The actual case workers don’t seem to know about it. If they haven’t got a licence, they can’t operate and their vehicles could be impounded.”

The DVSA previously said the changes had been publicised through press releases, its blog and via social media, but Brown responded: “We found a press release from the DfT back in January and that’s all we can find. It’s all very well doing blogs but not everyone in these industries is that aware electronically about the information that is out there.”

An OTC spokesman said it could only approve licences where the legislative requirements are satisfied.

He added: “Applications are prioritised against the commissioners’ target of making decisions on compliant applications within seven weeks.

“Staff in the OTC are available to assist applicants through the process of obtaining an operator’s licence, including on the evidence which can be provided to satisfy the legislative requirements.

“All applications involving volumetric operators are being sent to the lead TC on the subject for decision.”

Chris Dormand, DVSA enforcement policy manager said: “DVSA will be enforcing the need for operators’ licences on volumetric mixers across Great Britain, but will be considering any cases on their own merits, taking into consideration many factors, including whether or not they have an application for a licence in with the traffic commissioner.”

Imperial Commercials acquires AM Bell after directors retire


Imperial Commercials has acquired Macclesfield-based DAF service centre AM Bell after the retirement of directors Stella Bell and Mick Cope.

AM Bell has been purchased as a going concern with all current staff transferring to the new business. It will be re-named Imperial Commercials Macclesfield.

Steve Affleck who was appointed as regional director for Imperial Commercials’ Stoke-on-Trent region in July, said: “This acquisition has allowed us to expand our footprint into a key area. The business is well established and already boasts many loyal DAF customers, and we will continue to deliver those high service levels to which they have become accustomed – indeed, we will strive to exceed them with additional technicians and parts lines, including DAF Trucks’ exceptional TRP [Truck and Trailer Parts] range of all-makes and trailer parts.

“With investment into key areas of the business,” he said, “we forecast strong growth on the back of our excellent aftersales offering.”

Imperial Commercials Macclesfield will fill a ‘strategically important location’ for Imperial Commercials as it looks to build on its position as the UK’s largest independent commercial vehicle dealer.

The location, on Leek Old Road, Sutton, now forms part of the Imperial Commercials’ Stoke-on-Trent region which also includes sites in Stoke-on-Trent, Wrexham and Deeside near Chester.

Facilities in Macclesfield comprise a five-bay workshop, an ATF lane and tachograph centre. All prerequisite modern workshop equipment is included in the deal and is staffed by six skilled technicians. Imperial has already begun recruitment for additional workshop staff at the business.

Imperial Commercial MD Matt Lawrenson added that the acquisition further supported Imperial Commercials’ growth strategy for its UK footprint within the DAF dealer network.

“DAF Trucks is a key strategic trading partner for Imperial Commercials,” he said, “with our values very much aligned and our brands combining well to deliver service excellence for our extensive UK customer base. AM Bell is an important service point, an excellent business and will fit seamlessly into our Stoke-on-Trent Region.”

Pictured: Mick Cope (left), retiring managing director at AM Bell, alongside Jon Stubbs, general manager Imperial Commercials Stoke & Chester.

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