TC refuses bid to increase O-licence

In taking no action against the O-licence held by Loanhead-based Fairfield Dairies, the Scottish Traffic Commissioner, Joan Aitken, described transport consultant Maurice Robb as the "cavalry" that arrived last summer. However, the TC refused the company's bid to increase its O-licence from 15 vehicles and four trailers to 20 vehicles and four trailers.

The company, trading as Bonaly Farm Dairy, had been called before the TC at an Edinburgh public inquiry because of concerns over vehicle maintenance and drivers' hours and tachograph matters. It was given a warning about vehicle maintenance at a previous public inquiry in September 2004.

Evidence was given that in October 2007, one of the company's vehicles was stopped and it was found that the driver had taken insufficient weekly rest periods and had had no break after four-and-a-half hours' driving.

Following an investigation, it appeared that the company had loaned two vehicles and a driver to Steven Archibald, trading as Stevie's Milk Deliveries. Two of the company's vehicles were being regularly parked at Glenrothes.

An examination of the tachograph records for the period August 2007 to November 2007 revealed 45,409km of unexplained missing mileage. In addition, there were missing calibration and two yearly test certificates for some vehicles.

Since the last public inquiry, the company's vehicles had attracted seven immediate and five delayed prohibitions, plus two variation notices, with two prohibitions being 'S'-marked. In May 2008, there was an incident when the wheel bearings collapsed on a roundabout on the A1 by Dunbar.

Detailing the action taken to put matters right, Robb said he was contacted by director Donald Laird in July 2008 to look at the maintenance and O- licence issues and he produced an action plan.

A brake on expansion

The TC made it plain that if the company had not put in the considerable measures described by Robb, it would have faced licence revocation. However, she was putting a brake on expansion given the seriousness of the case.