Stobart wins second rail contract with Tesco

Stobart has signed a £15m, five-year contract with Tesco to run a second rail freight service. The move is expected to replace more than 13,000 lorry journeys and reduce a potential of 1.79 million lorry miles per year.

Tony McElroy, corporate affairs manager for Tesco, tells CM that although rail transport costs approximately the same to operate as lorries, the rail service is "of course more environmentally friendly".

Stobart chief executive Andrew Tinkler says the first dedicated rail service launched in 2006 was "100% a success", while McElroy adds that Tesco would certainly consider using the rail method elsewhere in the UK.

Stobart was awarded a £525,000 Freight Facilities Grant by the Scottish government for the service to run from Grangemouth to Inverness, which will launch no later than September.

The Scottish government also offered funding of £457,600 through the Rail Environmental Benefits Procurement Scheme, which promotes rail over road.

TC revokes Wigan Scaffolding Northwest's O-licence

The one vehicle licence held by Martin McDermott, trading as Wigan Scaffolding Northwest, has been revoked by North Western Deputy Traffic Commissioner Elizabeth Perrett.  Vehicle examiner Paul Harrison said that on 21 April an immediate prohibition was issued to McDermott's vehicle. He had undertaken maintenance investigations on 24 January 2007 and 7 January 2008 and the only area that showed improvement had been in connection with driver defect reporting.

No safety inspection sheets were available in January 2008, although McDermott had indicated they were in his possession and he would be able to fax them to him. Nothing was ever received. There was a 100% initial failure rate at annual test. The DTC said it was clear that the vehicle was not being kept fit and serviceable. Furthermore, there was inadequate record keeping.

McDermott was unable to show that the vehicle was inspected at the agreed intervals, the Traffic Area Office had not been informed of a change of maintenance contractor and there was an inadequate forward planner.  Following the vehicle examiner's visit in January 2007, a letter was sent to McDermott asking for an explanation of the findings and requesting a reply within 14 days. When that was not forthcoming a reminder was sent.

No reply was forthcoming to that letter either and it was not until a member of the Traffic Commissioner's staff wrote a letter dated 21 June - five months after the vehicle examiner's visit, that McDermott replied. In it he maintained he did reply in February and gave assurances that he would be "legal". In failing to heed advice in January 2007, and then failing to co-operate with staff, she could no longer trust McDermott to run his vehicle safely.