Senior Traffic Commissioner issues a Statutory Document in response to the COVID-19 outbreak
The Statutory Document sets out how the Traffic Commissioners are intending to deal with certain issues that may arise for standard operators as a result of the outbreak.
If access to an operating centre is temporarily lost, the Traffic Commissioners are empowered to authorise a period of grace. It is recognised that it may not be practical to apply for a new operating centre that is only temporary. The Traffic Commissioner will expect to be satisfied as to the suitability of the alternative parking location of the vehicles.
It is a condition of an Operator Licence that changes to financial standing are notified to the Office of the Traffic Commissioner. Normally if an Operator cannot meet the financial standing requirements, the Traffic Commissioners can grant a period of grace but will want to be satisfied that financial standing can be met in the future. Given the current circumstances, the Traffic Commissioners have been advised they can rely on a previous financial check within the last 12 months that meets the required sum.
Again there is a condition to notify the OTC of anything that may affect professional competence (such as loss of a transport manager). The OTC would not expect to be notified for a short period of illness, such as you may get with most cases of the virus, but would expect notification of more acute cases where the absence may be longer or permanent. In recognition of the fact it may take longer to recruit a replacement, the Traffic Commissioners have set a starting point for a period of grace of 6 months.
Important Points to Note
If any of the requirements set out above are not demonstrated at the end of the period of grace, the licence has to be revoked.
An operator seeking a period of grace must proactively apply.
Normally one of the tests to be satisfied to obtain a period of grace is that there are reasonable prospects of a good outcome (i.e. the issue will be resolved during the period of grace). The Traffic Commissioners are entitled to infer that the current situation is time-limited and therefore the relevant test is met.
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This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.