The traffic commissioner has revoked the operator licence held by an Essex council for its fleet of bin lorries after it failed to recruit a transport manager, leaving almost 100,000 residents without a waste collection service.

Uttlesford District Council, which is based in Saffron Walden, described the revocation as “highly regrettable” and that it was doing everything possible to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Saffron Walden, Essex

Saffron Walden, Essex

Source: Shutterstock

It sincerely apologised for the situation.

The council held a standard national licence authorising 34 HGVs but this was revoked on Tuesday (23 January) after its former transport manager resigned in July 2023 and it did not appoint a replacement.

A spokesman for the office of the traffic commissioner said: “The traffic commissioner was notified that the transport manager had resigned from the role on 31 July 2023. Without a transport manager the traffic commissioner is required to revoke the operator’s licence.

“As a result, the council requested a period of time to rectify the issue whilst continuing to operate without a transport manager.

“The traffic commissioner granted this request until 13 January 2024 so that a new transport manager could be appointed.

“This date passed without a transport manager being appointed or a request to extend the deadline further. As a result the traffic commissioner was required by law to revoke the operator’s licence.”

The spokesman added: “The maximum that a period of grace can be extended to is six months, but no extension was requested.”

The situation forced Uttlesford District Council to admit to residents that their waste collections would not be taking place.

In a statement, the council said: “We would like to reiterate that there has been no incident with the safety of our vehicles or their operation. It is an administrative oversight by the council that has led to this highly regrettable situation.

“Under the terms of the licence, an organisation must have a qualified transport manager in place. A member of staff has undertaken the required training and tests following the departure of the former staff member who held the qualification.

“Unfortunately, we did not properly regularise our position sufficiently promptly in this interim period and as a result we have now had to submit a new application after our licence was formally revoked earlier this week.

The statement added: “In the meantime, contingency plans are being prepared to ensure that collections can resume as soon as possib