Forfar goods vehicle operator’s licence is revoked

A Forfar goods vehicle operator has had his licence revoked by the Traffic Commissioner for Scotland after failing to convince her of his financial standing and professional competence.

George Sangster Hill, who traded as Strathplant Hire from Carseview Road, Suttieside, Forfar, was called to a public inquiry to consider his professional competence and financial standing.

The case was heard in his absence when Mr Hill and his nominated transport manager failed to attend the hearing.

His licence will be revoked from September 30 to allow all his vehicles to be brought back to base and arrangements made for their disposal.

Mr Hill was granted a standard national operator licence on April 15, 2009.

The licence currently authorises six vehicles and seven trailers with six discs. He was previously called to a Public Inquiry in February 2010 on roadworthiness and financial standing matters when the licence had been reduced voluntarily from ten vehicles to six.

In December 2010 Mr Hill’s nominated transport manager Mrs Maureen Towns advised the Traffic Commissioner that she was no longer employed by Mr Hill.

He nominated Mr Campbell John McNab as his new transport manager.

His ability to fulfil the transport manager role was scrutinised and the nomination was refused and Mr Hill was asked to provide an alternative name or request a public inquiry.

No response was received so the Traffic Commissioner decided that the matter of professional competence and financial standing of the operator should be considered at a public inquiry.

Mrs Aitken said that Mr Hill had failed to respond to her office in recent months notably from June 6, 2011.

She said she needed to be persuaded that the proposed arrangement for Mr McNab to be transport manager – as he had other commitments - could work, and that was why he had been called to the public inquiry.

In her decision, Ms Aitken also said the operator had not replied to her call for evidence of financial standing, and she now had doubts about that.

“In the absence of the operator I have no alternative but to revoke this licence,” she said.

“It is incumbent on an operator to maintain contact with the Office of the Traffic Commissioner.

“There must be professional competence on a licence. The licence has to have financial standing and I have no evidence of this.”

She added: “The failure to nominate an alternative transport manager and to be in contact with my office cause me to doubt whether this operator had financial standing and hence that was included in the call to public inquiry.”

The Dispatch and Herald was unable to contact the company for a comment at the time of going to press.