Awaiting licence decision
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by Derren Hayes A tipper operator convicted 11 times for non-payment of vehicle excise duty told a Cambridge public inquiry it was against company policy to tax vehicles in advance.
Managing director Nigel Johnson of Elms Farm Plant. Luttenvorth. Leics will have to wait 28 days to find out if he keeps his Operators Licence after the inquiry heard of a string of maintenance problems and breathes of 0-licence obligations.
Vehicle Inspectorate examiner Martin Wright told the inquiry that he made two checks on the company's three vehicle fleet six months apart. Each time he found the same defect on the same vehicle, resulting in two immediate prohibitions.
Wright also highlighted gaps of up to 10 weeks in vehicle maintenance inspections, when the licence required checks every four week.
VI examiner Chris Harris told the hearing of Johnson's attitude towards taxing vehicles. Harris, had told Johnson vehicles were being used un-taxed because he disagreed with paying up front when he was rarely paid on time for work. Johnson also failed to report these convictions when applying for his 0-licence in February 1995.
Tachograph charts requested by the VI were unavailable; Johnson claimed they had been lost in the post. He admitted knowing that failing to pay VED was an offence and said he was "considering changing his poll. cy" on it. But he denied any intention of defrauding, pointing out that all outstanding tax had been back-dated.