Raising an Objection against an Operator
The main aim of this page is to help:
1. Organisations with a statutory right to object to an application for a goods vehicle operator's licence; and,
2. Representors or potential representors (generally owners and occupiers of land or buildings near to a goods vehicle operating centre) to:
- Understand the main purposes of the goods vehicle operator licensing system and its environmental provisions; and
- Answer many of the questions people have about making a statutory objection or making a representation against the grant of an application for a licence or for a change to an existing licence.
This page also gives advice on how to make complaints about the use of an operating centre and how to report to the Traffic Commissioner any possible breaches of licensing conditions or unauthorised activities by operators. More general information about licensing can be found on the http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/transport website. This does not provide legal advice.
Goods Vehicle Operator Licensing Environmental Provisions
The suitability of a proposed operating centre is just one of a number of matters which a Traffic Commissioner must consider before granting an application. Other matters include an applicant's fitness to hold a licence; the financial resources available for, and arrangements in place, to maintain their vehicles; and, where appropriate, professional competence.
Once a licence has been issued an operator can apply to amend (vary) it.
Objectors and representors have different rights. This guide covers both.
The advertisement gives potential representors the opportunity to respond within a certain period of time and for other people who have an interest in the use of the site as an operating centre to consider drawing the application to the attention of statutory objectors to encourage them to make an objection. Details of how to lodge a representation can be found in our Guide to Making Representations and Complaints in the manuals and guides section.
How are objectors told about applications and is the proposed use of an operating centre advertised in any other way?A Traffic Commissioner must also publish details of most applications. This is done by using a publication called "Applications and Decisions" (As & Ds) which is issued by the Central Licensing Office every two weeks. Statutory objectors must respond within a certain period following the publication of application details if they wish to object but anyone can subscribe to As & Ds as it is a good way of being kept informed. There is a subscription fee. Further information on subscribing to As & Ds can be obtained from the Central Licensing Office.
a. Environmental conditions on the use of an operating centre if he feels they are necessary to prevent or reduce adverse effects, and/or
b. Road safety conditions if he considers they are necessary to prevent authorised vehicles causing danger to the public at any point where vehicles first join a public road on their way to and from an operating centre, and on any private approach road.
It is a criminal offence to break licence conditions and an operator faces penalties if they do so.
a. The number, type and size of authorised vehicles, including trailers, kept at the operating centre for maintenance or parking;
b. The parking arrangements for authorised vehicles, including trailers, at or in the vicinity of the operating centre;
c. The times when the centre may be used for maintenance or movement of authorised vehicles; and,
d. How authorised vehicles enter and leave the operating centre.
It is important to recognise that the Commissioner's powers are quite separate from those of highway, planning and local authorities. A Commissioner cannot control the use of the premises for other purposes. This is the responsibility of the local planning authority. A Traffic Commissioner cannot take into account the non-environmental suitability, including safety, of the public highway leading to the operating centre or the road network. These are matters for highway authorities.
In certain circumstances a Traffic Commissioner may not refuse an application on environmental grounds (other than for parking).
The following organisations have a statutory right to object to an application for a goods vehicle operator's licence or an application to vary a licence once issued:
- A Chief Officer of Police
- A Local Authority (but not a Parish Council)
- A Planning Authority
- The British Association of Removers
- The Freight Transport Association
- The General and Municipal Workers Union
- The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers
- The Road Haulage Association
- The Transport and General Workers Union
- The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers
- The United Road Transport Union.
Environmental grounds Environmental objections may be made under the provisions of Section 12 (1) (applications for) and Section 19 (2)(a) & (4)(a)(variations to) of the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995.
The environmental factors that result from the use of land as an operating centre and which can be considered relevant to an objection may include: Noise; Fumes; Pollution; Vibration; and, Visual intrusion.
Non-environmental grounds Non-environmental objections may be made on one or more of the following grounds on the basis that the requirements of Section 13 of the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995 cannot be met. They can relate to:
a) The suitability of the applicant to hold an operator's licence on the grounds that he cannot meet the requirements to be: of good repute (for standard licences only); fit to hold a licence (for restricted licences only); of appropriate financial standing (for standard licences only); and, professionally competent (for standard licences only).
b) The suitability of the operating centre in relation to: size for the number of vehicles and trailers proposed to be parked there; the safety of the entrance and exit arrangements from the site onto the public highway; and, parking facilities in or around the site.
An objection to an application for or variation to an operator’s licence must:
- Be made in writing to the Traffic Commissioner at the Central Licensing Office and should wherever possible quote the legislation under which the objection is being made
- Be signed by an authorised signatory from the organisation making the objection
- Be received at the Central Licensing Office no later than 21 days after the date that notice of the application is published in ‘Applications and Decisions’;
- Be copied to the applicant on the same day, or next working day, as the objection is made to the Traffic Commissioner
- State specific grounds and give sufficient particulars so that the applicant knows the case he has to answer to.
If any of the above criteria are not met the Traffic Commissioner will not accept the objection as duly made unless there are exceptional circumstances.
The Traffic Commissioner will then decide if they have sufficient evidence to make a decision on the application or whether to hold a Public Inquiry to hear evidence from both parties before reaching a decision on the application (see Part 6). If they consider that they have sufficient information to determine the application without a Public Inquiry the Traffic Commissioner will advise all parties of their intended decision and they will be invited to make further representation in writing or request that the matter is considered at Public Inquiry.
There are numerous options available to the Traffic Commissioner. The more usual are:
- Grant the application as applied for
- Grant the application but attach conditions regarding the use of the operating centre
- Grant the application for a reduced number of vehicles and/or trailers
- Refuse the application.
Page last updated: 12/11/2010