Firm to be stripped of lorry licence

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A NORTH Shields firm is to lose its haulage licence after a director told the industry’s regulator that a public inquiry had slipped his mind.

North east traffic commissioner Kevin Rooney has told Neilsen Fisheries that its authority to operate lorries will be terminated at the end of next month.

His decision comes as a result of the company’s failure to co-operate with enforcement officers, uphold maintenance standards and give evidence at the inquiry.

He also made a direction that any application made by the directors for a new licence before October 2015 would be called to another hearing for further scrutiny.

A previous public inquiry, in February 2011, revealed that the firm had failed to make sure vehicles were given routine safety inspections on time and to complete paperwork relating to vehicle defects identified by drivers.

A Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) examiner told the traffic commissioner that the firm’s maintenance regime had not improved over the last two years and it gave him the impression that it was not concerned with the requirements of operator licensing.

Mr Rooney added: “This operator has failed to cooperate both with VOSA and with my office.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the operator was aware that the vehicle examiner was trying to make contact with him to arrange a visit throughout December.

“He chose not to respond until it was too late.”

Had he attended today, he may well have been able to satisfy me on this matter but he chose not to.”

The regulator also noted that the business failed to submit evidence of its financial standing, despite a request from his office.

Mr Rooney told the company’s directors that they had time to make a new application before November 30, but warned that any request to run vehicles again would have to show a clear engagement with operator licensing matters and genuine intention to abide by the rules.

“With commitment, the operator should be able to get it right,” he added.