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Recyclers to lose vehicle licence after driver offences

A Brighton-based recycling company is to lose its vehicle operating licence after failing to address a string of legal infringements, a traffic commissioner has ruled.

Nicholas Denton, commissioner for London and the South East, found KSD Environmental Ltd, which trades as Kingspan Waste Recycling, had been too slow to improve vehicle and driver safety standards following breaches raised at a public enquiry in September.

This found four of the company’s drivers had been convicted for drivers’ hours infringements, including one who exceeded a legal requirement to take a break after four and a half hours of driving. Other broke the law by failing to record any data about their driving.

Further breaches included two vehicles operating without an MOT, one for five months. Four prohibitions were issued to KSD Environmental’s vehicles for mechanical defects. The hearing also revealed the company had been checking records against the wrong regulations.

Denton has given the company until 17 January 2015 to transfer its waste contracts and prevent an adverse environmental impact in the Brighton area. After this date the company’s operator licence for 15 vehicles will be revoked.

The decision followed a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency investigation that revealed KSD Environmental had not taken steps to address the issues until months after the enforcement body’s visit.

Denton said revoking the operator’s licence was “entirely proportionate to the company’s significant and sustained failure to tackle drivers’ hours infringements”.

“It took at least four months (and probably seven) before [the company] started to analyse data against the correct set of rules,” he continued.

“Even now it is doing so, some drivers are going for months before their data is analysed and are clearly continuing to commit numerous breaches of drivers’ hours and working time rules.”

No-one at KSD Environmental was available to comment when contacted by MRW. But the Traffic Commissioner’s Office reported that bosses had warned that suspendion of the company’s licence would cause “irreparable harm” to the trade waste collection and skip hire business in Brighton, as well as provoke environmental problems.

KSD Environmental director Mark Radcliffe reportedly blamed company drivers for the breaches.

“Mr Ratcliffe’s outburst that, in effect, everything was the fault of his drivers who should have known the rules and should have obeyed them suggests that, even today, he has failed to appreciate the responsibilities of an operator,” said Denton.

“The director of the company does not fully understand that it is the company’s responsibility to manage things in such a way as to minimise breaches.”

KSD Environmental can continue trading if it contracts a separate vehicle operator, as the Traffic Commissioner’s ruling only affects its use of vehicles rather than the business itself. The company could also apply for a new licence in the future.

The firm’s website says the company is committed to tracing its services through “time recording”. It also states that “vehicles are maintained regularly with our authorised repairers”.

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