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New O-licensing consultation "a bit of a mess" says RHA

A second round of consultation into the first ever set of statutory directions and guidance notes has begun in order that they match new O-licensing rules starting in December.

The hastily launched industry consultation into documents aimed at making the lives of operators easier has been described as “a bit of a mess” by the Road Haulage Association’s chief executive.

Geoff Dunning says an apparent failure to realise early on that the draft guidance and directions (GDs) from the Statutory Senior Traffic Commissioner would contradict European Regulation 1071/2009 due to be enforced from 4 December meant sections had to be reviewed and consulted on again.

The consultation period is also very short, with responses to be received by the Department for Transport by 22 November.

The 12 documents making up the GDs cover areas of O-licensing such as transport managers, financial standing and appeals.

Their aim is to simplify and tidy up existing guidance and practice directions that have been issued in the past on an ad hoc basis and reduce the cost of compliance for operators, as well as speed up licence applications and reduce the number of public inquiries.

Dunning says one of the most important areas hauliers need to be aware of is that anyone operating under “grandfather rights” must apply for an acquired rights certificates.

He adds: “The TCs appreciate that the scale of the changes and the timing is creating problems for everyone so they are taking as flexible a view as possible within the legal framework.”

The Freight Transport Association says it is working with acting Senior TC Beverley Bell to provide feedback to the consultation, which can be found here:

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