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.”