18:34 Monday 28 January 2013

Defects on vehicle land council with £1,250 fine

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

SOUTH Derbyshire District Council has been hit with a £1,250 fine after one of its waste disposal trucks was judged to be unfit for the road.

The clinical waste vehicle, which disposes of hazardous items, was found to have a number of faults relating to its wheels after being pulled over for a routine inspection by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) in June last year.

The inspection found the six-wheeler to have three defective tyres, while three wheel nuts on one of the vehicle’s front tyres were loose.

Following the incident, the council has introduced a raft changes to the way its vehicles are maintained, including more frequent safety inspections, while wheel stubs and nuts have also been replaced on all district council vehicles.

South Derbyshire District Council was represented by director of operations Mark Alflat and direct services manager Adrian Lowery at Walsall Magistrates’ Court, in the West Midlands, on January 21, while the driver of the vehicle also appeared.

The driver had originally been charged along with the council, but had the charges against him dropped at the request of the authority.

A report into the matter by the council’s environmental and development services committee said: “The director of operations (Mark Alflat) took the view that although the driver should have checked the vehicle before it was taken out, the systems in existence in June 2012 were not robust enough to place the blame on the driver.

“Having pleaded guilty, the council’s solicitor informed the court of measures taken since the incident to reassure the court that the offence was a one-off and would not happen again.”

A spokesman for South Derbyshire District Council added: “The council takes its legal responsibilities seriously and on notification of defects in existing inspection regimes instigated a full and comprehensive improvement plan which was praised by the district judge.”

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