Lorry licence error blamed on Northampton Borough Council

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An error which led to Northampton Borough Council illegally operating seven lorries on the town’s roads was the authority’s fault, a Government department has said.

The Chron reported last week that a fleet of 7.5 tonne HGVs were taken out of service with the housing department in December because their operating licence had not been renewed.

The borough council said it had not been told the licence was due to expire, but this has since been refuted by a Department for Transport body.

The Office of the Traffic Commissioner said a reminder was sent to the council on October 30, a month before the licence was due to expire. And it added it was the authority’s responsibility to make sure it re-applied for the licence on time.

A spokesman said: “The document informed the local authority that a payment was required to renew its licence by November 30.

“The request warned of the consequences of failing to make payment, specifically that the licence would terminate and the local authority would have no authority to operate goods vehicles in the East of England.

“There is no legal requirement for a fee reminder to be sent to an operator in advance of their licence expiring.

“Responsible operators should have robust systems for ensuring that key dates for compliance are met, including renewing their licence authority.”

The borough council is now having to pay to hire seven replacement vehicles from Wellingborough-based firm, Longmarsh, to be used until a new licence is granted.