TCs' annual report 2014-15: in depth look at the North East

Every day this week, the Transport Law Blog will bring you an in depth look at the trends in each traffic area, as detailed in the Traffic Commissioners' Annual Reports 2014-15.


North East traffic commissioner (TC) Kevin Rooney has been trialling alternative approaches to calling operators to a public inquiry (PI) in order to free up resources so that operators posing “significant safety or competition risks” can be called to a PI sooner.

Working with the Office of the Traffic Commissioner (OTC) in Leeds, the TC wants to see more operators called to shorter, less bureaucratic preliminary hearings, or give them the opportunity to undertake training or provide evidence to show that concerns with their operation have been addressed, without the need for a hearing.

Rooney also noted that there had been an increase in the number of goods vehicles being impounded by DVSA officers.

“In many cases, these have been foreign-registered vehicles that have breached cabotage or combined transport rules on a continuing basis,” said Rooney. “The nature of these detentions means that they are rarely publicised. I would like to take this opportunity to make the compliant industry aware that the enforcement agency is tackling the difficult cases and taking strong action.”


North East traffic area in numbers


O-licences in issue and goods vehicles specified
Restricted: 6,789 O-licences in issue. 14,503 vehicles specified.
Standard National: 4,489 O-licences in issue. 26,319 vehicles specified.
Standard International: 1,170 O-licences in issue. 12,794 vehicles specified.
Total number of specified vehicles: 53,616.
Total number of O-licences in issue: 11,607.

O-licence applications
New O-licences issued in full: 709.
New O-licences applied for: 757.

Public inquiries
PIs completed: 93.
Licence revocations: 30.
Licence suspensions: 11.
Curtailment or conditions opposed: 21.
Formal warning: 29.
Operator disqualification: 2.
Transport manager disqualification: 4.
No action taken: 21.

TCs' annual report 2014-15: in depth look at the East of England

Every day this week, the Transport Law Blog will bring you an indepth look at the trends in each traffic area, as detailed in the Traffic Commissioners' Annual Reports 2014-15.

The East of England traffic area has remained the largest in terms of vehicle parc and number of O-licences in issue. Some 13,117 of the 75,595 O-licences were in issue in the area in 2014-15, however, this was down slightly on the previous year’s 13,402 figure.

Resourcing has, for a number of years, been a concern for TCs and last year was no exception. East of England TC Richard Turfitt said the region was faced with a significant backlog of case referrals from DVSA enforcement staff, which had an effect on workload.

“The members of my team based in Cambridge have worked long hours to reduce the backlog to manageable numbers. They have also commenced the move to service of case papers five weeks in advance of hearings, following feedback of tribunal users,” said Turfitt.

He said the Triennial Review of the traffic commissioners, the results of which were published earlier this year, had “grossly underestimated” the amount of work TCs have to carry out each week. Turfitt noted the increase in public inquiries carried out in 2014-15 to 172, up from 129 the previous year, and claimed there had been a rise in the number of preliminary hearings.

“It is difficult to argue against further rationalisation but I also recognise the opportunities and this can be seen in the ongoing digital transformation of the courts and tribunal service,” he said of the report’s suggestion that the TC structure could allow more opportunity for them to focus more on tribunals.

He noted that the call for greater transparency in the use of operators’ fees had received strong support from O-licence holders in the East, and hoped that inconsistencies in the HGV and PSV operator licensing regimes would soon be resolved by the TCs.

East of England traffic area in numbers

O-licences in issue and goods vehicles specified:
Restricted: 6,789 O-licences in issue. 15,762 vehicles specified.
Standard National: 4,612 O-licences in issue. 32,765 vehicles specified.
Standard International: 1,716 O-licences in issue. 15,945 vehicles specified.
Total number of specified vehicles: 34,3674.
Total number of O-licences in issue: 13,117.

O-licence applications:
New O-licences issued: 1,012.
New O-licences applied for: 1,118.

Public inquiries:
PIs completed: 172.
Licence revocations: 57.
Licence suspensions: 18.
Curtailment or conditions opposed: 33.
Formal warning: 41.
Operator disqualification: 13.
Transport manager disqualification: 12.
No action taken: 23.