The traffic commissioner for Scotland has disqualified AFS Scaffolding Ltd and director Ross Findlay after he ‘deliberately and repeatedly’ operated a vehicle without the required operator’s licence.
The industry regulator concluded that AFS Scaffolding posed 'a significant risk to road safety’.
Ms Gilmore’s decision follows a public inquiry into the business, which looked at the company’s illegal use of a vehicle before it was given an operator’s licence.
Businesses are required to hold a valid licence to run commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and must meet certain standards to keep that licence.
AFS Scaffolding’s application for an operator licence was considered at an inquiry before the deputy traffic commissioner for Scotland in February 2019, following allegations that it had been using a vehicle unlawfully.
Findlay gave assurances that the unlawful use had been infrequent and was a result of error rather than a deliberate attempt to avoid the licensing regime. After consideration, the company was told it could start running vehicles on 29 March 2019.
However, the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) discovered that the company had continued to use the vehicle unlawfully before its operator’s licence came into force.
More than 10,000 km was recorded in the vehicle between 10th December 2018 and 25th March 2019, when the company did not have a licence. It was also being operated with at least one worn-out tyre.
In a written decision following the inquiry, the Traffic Commissioner Claire Gilmore said she was unable to rely on Findlay’s evidence.
“[He] knew he needed a licence to operate, and also that the licence granted by the Deputy Traffic Commissioner did not come into force until 29th March 2019. He therefore deliberately and repeatedly operated the vehicle without a licence.
“Unlawful operation for such a lengthy period undoubtedly resulted in this operator gaining an unfair competitive advantage.”
The disqualification orders against AFS Scaffolding Ltd and Ross Findlay will prevent them from applying for or holding a commercial vehicle operator’s licence until September 2024 at the earliest.