Hauliers are strongly advised to request a public inquiry if they receive ‘minded to revoke’ letters from the traffic commissioners during the current pandemic, according to a solicitor.

Tim Culpin, transport partner at Aaron & Partners, said the TCs were taking a proactive approach to COVID-19 and were coming up with different ways to ensure non-compliance was addressed.

One of these methods is to send out a minded to revoke letter to operators who have demonstrated shortcomings.

But Culpin said hauliers can “guard against” the move if they request a PI takes place.

He said: “It appears that if a public inquiry is requested by the operator, the traffic commissioner will put the revocation of the licence on hold.

“Whereas if unsatisfactory written representations are given in response to the minded to revoke letter, and where no public inquiry has been requested, the licence is likely to be revoked without further notice in accordance with the terms of the letter.”

Culpin said these letters were likely to also question whether an operator still meets financial standing requirements and that they should submit three months bank statements to show that they do.

He added: “Quite what action the traffic commissioners can take once a public inquiry has been requested is not clear, but as operator licensing is based on trust, it is essential to cooperate as fully as possibly if you receive a minded to revoke letter.”

Senior TC guidance documents state that minded to revoke letters are intended to put an operator on notice that information has emerged that, if left unanswered, would require the TC to take action against the licence.