you ever wondered where the Recovery Licensing scheme came from?
Read on and I will tell you.......
back at the 2010 Recovery Tow Show in Telford there was an INDUSTRY
meeting due to start on the official first day at 11:00 am, we
arrived at 10:30 am.
place was quiet so we jokingly asked “has there been a bomb scare?”
to which the reply was “everyone is in the meeting in there...it
started early” so we wandered in, to date I still remember thinking
I had walked into some kind of American evangelical church event with
the crowd whipped up into an excited frenzy. What grabbed my
attention was the words “get rid of the beavertail boys” then
there was some kind of vote for a licence to make this happen.
missed a fair chunk of the debate I started asking people at the show
what was the meeting about, one guy who we joined at the table in the
meeting replied “I really don’t know” (I had seen this guy vote
with his hand in the air!!! Remember my comment about a frenzied
excitement ?) and so I set on what was just a fact finding mission.
the next two years we as an industry heard nothing, very few
operators we spoke with had even heard of this R Licence being
discussed by the “ European Rescue and Recovery Initiative“ and
another question was who are these people ? Lots of comments were
along the lines of “more European rules eh?“ so we decided to
investigate, but they were not registered as an official body and
there were certainly no details at Companies House. With a
distinct lack of information available I contacted a good friend and
neighbour of mine Paul Nuttall who knows a fair bit about Europe as
he is a UKIP MEP, who better? He asked his Transport man in Europe
about all of this European Initiative, one week later Paul contacted
me with some news!!!, but it wasn’t the reams of documents I was
expecting....”sorry mate but Europe has nothing to do with this but
we want to know more ” so with the Tow Show on the horizon UKIP
asked Lawrence Webb, their guy for Transport to contact ERRI for an
invite to the meeting. This was refused on the grounds that they
didn’t want to politicise it !!! We sneaked him in
anyway! (It later transpires that ERRI could be prosecuted by the
E.U. for not requesting both relevant permissions to use the
wording associating themselves to the E.U. and the gold stars on blue
flag logo....not to mention the fact the E.U.’s rules refuse
applications of any restrictive behaviour! Is this why they are not
a legal entity?).
interesting part of these ALL INDUSTRY meeting’s is that it is
held on the day before the Tow Show, while it is being setup so how
can it be ALL INDUSTRY when the operators don’t visit until the
next day? (or is setup the operative word?). We successfully
attended the meeting and Lawrence was amazed to see Labour MP’s
Andy Woodcock and another Labour MP from Stoke present, Lawrence’s parting comment
was “something stinks so keep an eye on this lot“.
Lawrence’s advice in mind we decided to attend one of these ERRI
meetings to find out more. Months later we attended an ERRI meeting
and noted those present, we listened and took note of who said what
and very little was relevant to the R Licence except the admission
from John Coupland that it was pretty much a “cut and paste” of
the O Licence, but it was almost as if they were not prepared to be
discussing it in front of outsiders! “Strange, very strange“ was
the comment from my right hand man who had just completed 2 year A
level in politics.
seemed to move forwards for quite a while, but yet again at the very
next Tow Show ALL INDUSTRY meeting it reared its head again. Ashley
Sutton-Counter made one of his memorable speech’s pointing to the
fact that ERRI’s proposal would be entirely voluntary and we
already have PAS43 as the industry benchmark and then I pointed out
that neither the police nor V.O.S.A would enforce this as it was not
an enforceable legal regulation. Their next efforts to gain
credibility was the introduction of a “consultation document“
which was supposed to run over a six month period, due to the
industry practically ignoring this generating such a low response
that they extended it, at this time they did publish a reminder with
a thinly veiled threat that the Government would get involved if the
result was not satisfactory. Ultimately the dismally low result of
126 people (5.3% of the industry) responded positively to the
consultation, but that was out of approximately 2400 recovery
operators nationwide. Even if you only base this on only PAS43
registered operators of which there are approximately 465 in the UK
it is still only a 27% response.....this poses the question ”would
you like some EPIC with that FAIL, Sir?“.
the next two years ERRI have pushed hard with V.O.S.A. to gain their
backing, however it was at this point that the recovery industry
ended up slap bang on V.O.S.A.’s radar with record numbers of
operators being subjected to roadside checks, historically we were
just given the nod, but not now that ERRI had rattled cages!!
Ultimately V.O.S.A ‘s head of enforcement Gordon MacDonald held
many meetings with ERRI some of which RRRA and others had to request
an invite to, but due to overwhelming resistance on the ERRI R
Licence they would only commit to a Recovery Guide and nothing
would not believe what happens next!! The Department of Transport
investigates the removal of the recovery industries exemptions from O
this does beg the question that after many years of the vehicle
recovery industry being left alone why has Department of Transport
decided to review the status of our exemption from the operator
licensing scheme? The sneaking feeling here is that as all previous
avenues of ERRI gathering official support for their beloved R
Licence have failed. The members of the All Party Parliamentary
Group for Transport (that coincidentally 80% of its members are also
ERRI members) seem to have now pushed their Chairman into cheerleading for them. This is quite interesting when
you look at who his advisor is!! Thankfully the real powers that
be, realised that the very nature of our industry is not conducive to
work within the framework of an O Licence. They also realised that
the original reasons for our exemptions had not changed and are never
likely too either.
this brings us up to this year’s ALL INDUSTRY meeting at the
Recovery Tow Show (yet again held the day before all the industry
visits). Chairman of ERRI AND CEO of A.V.R.O.
gave his revised presentation of the R.O.L.S. scheme (the latest name
for the R Licence) he explained that the Department of Transport now
expect the recovery industry to be fully acceptant of the R.O.L.S.
scheme by June / July 2017 or we risk the Department of Transport
enforcing the O Licence system.
the end of ERRI's presentation there was the usual
“questions and answers” session. At this point we took the
opportunity to ask the BIG question....(unbeknown to the
panel we had previously researched the Department of Transports
report on the O Licence exemptions and printed this out). “ERRI,
you have just stated that the Department of Transport will enforce
the O Licence if we don’t have agreement with the R.O.L.S. or
Recovery standard by June / July 2017 but here I have a copy of the
report printed from the Department of Transports own website that
clearly states that they have no interest in further regulation of
the recovery industry, and even the Transport Minister admits that
there is no appetite for such a scheme. Who is telling us the
truth?” His reply was priceless, coughing and spluttering he
passed the session over to (A VERY PINK AND SHEEPISH LOOKING) Labour MP who was present for him to reply...”well erm, its erm, IF they came back to
this in 5 or 10 or 20 or even 50 years.... FINALLY THE LIE HAS
followed in the next few weeks was quite extraordinary, RRRA had the MP's advisor on the phone demanding we apologise to the MP for putting
him in such a position after all of the good work he has done for the
industry, how dare we ask such a question in public when it should
have been asked behind closed doors etc etc (well I never!). We also
had interesting conversations with some work providers that sit on
the ERRI committee that now do not have the will for this even to the
point that at the last ERRI meeting it was agreed to scale it right
back and to continue as a lobby group only.
Unfortunately, the CEO of
A.V.R.O. and Chairman of ERRI refuses to concede his utopia will not
happen. At the last meeting of the SURVIVE Group (this is the group
that is responsible for PAS43) the CEO who now has a default
seat on the committee as CEO of A.V.R.O. has now suggested the
continued promotion of the scheme. It is on the agenda for the
February SURVIVE meeting and I can only assume that the SURVIVE group
somehow imagine he has the complete backing of all A.V.R.O. members.
RRRA feel that this has now turned
into a 1 man crusade and RRRA believe the time has come for the all
the “behind closed doors” meetings to stop.
Does the CEO of AVRO have the backing of all A.V.R.O. members ? We at RRRA would
like to hear your comments on this.
So where do we go from here?
industry is on its knees and needs the help of all the associations
as well as all others connected to our industry and as such RRRA and
SVRA are in agreement that now is the time for us to all stand
together as OPERATORS and get rid of the Politics and Bullshit and
regulations we neither want or need. We want to get back to what we
do best – RRRA want you ALL to be part of this.
hold meetings around the country that are OPEN to ALL OPERATORS ..if
you believe in our industry as much as we do just contact Linda on
01529 469288 for information or email: firstname.lastname@example.org