Impounding over cabotage breach
At a recent hearing, Traffic Commissioner Victoria Davies heard an application by Speedogistic Limited for the return of an Irish registered vehicle which had been impounded by the DVSA
The commissioner heard evidence, which was not disputed, that the DVSA examiner had reason to believe that the impounded vehicle was being used in contravention of section 2 of the Act because it was in breach of the cabotage requirements and that the impounding on 17 April 2023 was lawful. A vehicle is not permitted to conduct cabotage movements within GB if it has entered the country unladen. Following entry at Holyhead port, the vehicle had made 2 journeys to St Helens Amazon depot, taking one load to Holyhead port and then another journey to collect the load carried at the time of the stop. No load paperwork was available for the first load from St Helens to Holyhead. The Traffic Examiner determined that the vehicle movements were in breach of the cabotage requirements in that firstly, no cabotage movements were permitted because the initial movement into the UK was unladen and secondly, the paperwork for the first load from St Helens to Holyhead had not been retained in the vehicle, as required by the relevant cabotage legislation.
The Commissioner heard that the applicant company had been sent a pre-impounding letter following a previous cabotage breach. The applicant company maintained that it did not know that its vehicle was being, or had been, used in contravention of section 2 of the Act but failed to satisfy the Traffic Commissioner of that. She found that there had been a high degree of fault on the part of the company which failed to make the reasonable enquiries that an operator engaged in haulage operations to the UK should have, such that knowledge of the unlawful use in breach of cabotage rules was imputed, if not actual.
Commissioner Davies said “I find it quite incredible that the applicant company would not have been made aware that a load that was scheduled to be collected on a due date, bound from Dublin to Liverpool, was neither collected as planned, nor delivered as planned.”
The application was refused.
Further details can be found here.