It was a bright sunny day in Manchester on the morning of the Conference, as the Speakers and Guests made their way towards the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce on Deansgate.
Conference Chairman Steve Hobson, editor of 'Motor Transport' welcomed everyone to the Invergold North-West Transport Conference.
Steve is also part of the team that runs the annual Motor Transport Awards that take place in July at London's Grosvenor House Hotel.
Simon McCalla from DVSA, gave an interesting talk on the work of the North-West Enforcement Teams, backed-up with pictures of some serious infringements that are found on an all-to-regular basis.
Many of these infringements pose a serious risk to other road users but could be mostly prevented by daily walkaround checks and proper PMI's.
Phil Breen from DVSA, talked about the advantages of the Earned Recognition Scheme – which Invergold Associates Ltd. Fully support, and are DVSA accredited auditors helping people to join the scheme easily, by preparing the necessary audits.
Phil explained how the scheme helps operators to reduce costs, improve efficient and cost-effective operations, and how ER Operators can be pre-approved for contracts for National Infrastructure Projects.
Carolyn Evans from CE Transport Law, talked about her experience dealing with operators at Traffic Commissioner’s Public Inquiries, and explored the implications of Case Law, including the outcomes of previous cases and appeals that have helped to shape the decisions that are taken today.
Simon Evans, Traffic Commissioner for the North West Region, spoke about many issues that his office have to deal with, especially the circumstances that brings non-compliant operators to his attention, including issues caused by tachograph and driver’s hours offences, driver entitlement, insecure loads and overloading, poor maintenance, and ‘Bridge Strikes’.
Thanks to new advances in technology, as well as co-operation between government agencies, 95% of all cases are now being processed inside a 12 week window.
Martin Parrack of Invergold Associates Ltd. gave an interesting talk on the dangers of overloading, with examples of how poor loading practices can lead to a vehicle being under it’s overall weight limit, but still be illegally over it’s axle weight.
Martin backed-up his dialogue with some interesting pictures of some of the worst examples of overloading that have been seen in the UK.
Megan Black, Head of Logistics and Environment for ‘Transport for Greater Manchester, spoke about the proposals for the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan, and how they are progressing in readiness for the 2021 implementation.
Megan discussed the financial implications, and the process that is underway to secure government funding.
Nick Helm, Infrastructure Partner with Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP, explained how his firm is working with TfGM on the legal aspects of the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan, and how obstacles are being overcome.
In conclusion, many of the attendees felt that the Conference was of great benefit to them, as it addressed their concerns at a local level, whereas they feel that other Transport Conferences tend to focus at a National level.
Several attendees have expressed an interest in going forward with the Earned Recognition Scheme, and many are keeping a close watch on developments for the Clean Air Zone.
The Invergold Team have already started planning a similar event for 2020, taking all of the points raised into consideration, and will keep the focus firmly on the Greater Manchester area.