In a decision dated 4 May 2012, Langston's Group (“Langston's”), Wimbledon-based household and office removal specialists, has appealed to the Upper Tribunal against the revocation of its operating license by the Deputy Transport Commissioner for the South East and Metropolitan Transport Area , Miles Dorrington
Langston's held a Standard National Goods Vehicle Operator's License issued on December 22, 2010, allowing the use of 4 vehicles, with 2 vehicles owned. David Drury was Langston's nominee transport manager; However, in January 2011, the Office of the Transport Commissioner ("OTC") wrote to Langston's advising that the Transport Commissioner had become aware that Mr Drury had resigned as Langston's appointed Transport Manager and requested Langston to provide the Transport Commissioner with details of Arrangements made or ongoing to appoint a replacement transport manager to ensure that they remain technically competent (a requirement for obtaining or retaining an operator's licence).
Langston's responded by email in February 2011, confirming that they were in the process of appointing a replacement transport manager. In light of this, the OTC wrote to Langston's on February 22, 2011, confirming that the Commissioner of Transport had determined that Langston's operator's license could remain in effect until June 2, 2011 without a nominated transport manager; However, that letter advised Langston's of the Traffic Commissioner's power to revoke the operator's license if, after the expiration of that grace period, Langston's were unable to meet the professional competence requirements.
On August 9, 2011, the OTC wrote to Langston confirming that the grace period granted by the Traffic Commissioner had expired and requesting details of any arrangements made or in progress to appoint a replacement transport manager. The OTC also required Langston to provide evidence that it met the required financial standing (another requirement for obtaining or retaining an operator's license), as Langston was unable to do so with its original application. The deadline for providing the requested information/documents was August 23, 2011.
On October 31, 2011, the OTC wrote to Langston's as the OTC had not received a reply to its August 9, 2011 letter. Langston's was given another opportunity to provide evidence that it met reasonable financial performance requirements to be delivered by November 21, 2011.
The requested information/documentation was not received by OTC and on November 29, 2011, OTC wrote to Langston stating that its operator's license had been revoked due to a breach of the terms recorded in its operator's license and failure to fulfill declarations of intent made for the purposes of his application for an operator's license and that there had been a material change in his circumstances.
Langston's appealed the revocation of its operator's license, arguing that after Mr Drury's resignation it had difficulty finding a suitable replacement transport manager for an agency set to operate 4 vehicles; However, a replacement transport manager had now been appointed, due to start with Langston in January 2012.
The Supreme Court's decision
The Upper Tribunal found that Langston's ceased to be competent in January 2011 when Mr Drury resigned. Additionally, Langston's failed to notify the Traffic Commissioner of both this significant change in his circumstances and the loss of his professional competence, and despite a grace period during which Langston's was able to appoint a replacement transportation manager, Langston's did not do so and operated without a nomination traffic manager for a period of 10 months and has not informed the traffic commissioner. Langston's then failed to provide evidence that it met the requirement of having the appropriate financial capacity.
On that basis, the Superior Court dismissed Langston's appeal, upheld Deputy Transportation Commissioner Miles Dorrington's decision to revoke Langston's operator's license, and affirmed that if Langston wished to operate freight vehicles, it must comply with the regulatory requirements of the operator's license scheme and Langston's would need a new operator's license apply for.
What does that mean?
This decision emphasizes the need for operators to ensure:
- You have one or more appointed Transport Managers who are able and do so to continuously and effectively manage the Operator's vehicles on a daily basis; and
- he shall notify the OTC of any significant change in his circumstances (e.g. the resignation of the nominated transport manager).
For pragmatic advice and support regarding the role of a nominated transport manager and how a nominated transport manager is able to meet the requirement of continuous and effective management of the operator's vehicles or any other aspect of road transport law, contact Laura Hadzik at 0161 828 1849 or 07831 291 538 or by email email@example.com