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Plant hire firm has HGV licence revoked

3 Sep 15 The Traffic Commissioner has revoked the operator’s licence of a Middlesex plant hire firm after it was called to a second public inquiry in less than 12 months.

Traffic Commissioner Nick Denton took action against Liam Moloney Plant Hire Ltd, which is based in North Greenford, after it ignored the law, he said. He said that assurances previously given by the firm’s director, Liam Moloney, had turned out to be ‘worthless’.

He added: “Mr Moloney must have been aware of the importance of compliance and likely consequences of failure. Yet he did little or nothing to ensure compliance with the maintenance and drivers’ hours requirements.

“Worse, he knowingly operated many more vehicles than the five to which the company was entitled, continuing to do this even after some of the unspecified vehicles had been stopped by DVSA and he had been warned against unauthorised operation.”

Traffic Commissioners are responsible for the licensing and regulation of those who operate heavy goods vehicles, buses and coaches.

At a public inquiry in Eastbourne last month, the regulator heard that:

  • additional vehicles were being used by the operator above the authorised limit and before a variation application had been considered
  • vehicles were operating without licence discs and without being specified on the licence
  • the licence entitlements of two of the firm’s drivers were found to have been revoked by the DVLA
  • goods were being carried for another business despite the firm only holding a restricted licence
  • six fixed penalties had been issued to drivers, for drivers’ hours offences, not producing a driver qualification card and a dangerous load
  • 12 prohibitions had been issued to vehicles since the operator’s first public inquiry in November 2014 – several related to loose wheel nuts
  • vehicles did not have first use inspections at the time they were added to the licence
  • maintenance arrangements had changed without notifying the Traffic Commissioner’s Office
  • driver defect reports contained errors
  • the company failed to produce records following a legal request from DVSA officers
  • a driver at a roadside stop had been obstructive.

Mr Moloney’s representative said he had not educated himself properly after being given the licence in November 2014 and held his hands up to that. He also confirmed the business would not be pursuing the variation application – to increase the licence from five to 15 vehicles.

The director had failed to take the advice given to him by DVSA but he had since taken steps to address the reported issues, including employing a more competent mechanic and an individual with specific responsibility for compliance.

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However, Mr Denton ruled that this was “too little and too late to carry significant weight against the considerable negative findings”.

He added: “Mr Moloney’s assurances given at the November 2014 public inquiry that there would be ‘100% – not 99% – compliance’ have turned out to be worthless.

“Not only has he simply ignored (again) the law relating to the number of vehicles his company may operate, he has also paid little or no attention to such matters as ensuring the roadworthiness of the vehicles, proper driver defect reporting and compliance with drivers’ hours and tachograph rules.”

The Traffic Commissioner concluded vehicles had been operated in a way that posed a danger to road safety and resulted in unfair competition to compliant licence holders.

The company's operator’s licence will be revoked at 00.01 on 13 September 2015.

Mr Denton reserved his decision on the issue of disqualification to await a public inquiry into another firm's licence.

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