It Makes ‘EERIE’ Reading to Me

It must be three years since ERRI, or G8 or whatever we want to call them, started their route to not only representing our Industry but supposedly to help improve our lot: more or less their words I would say rather than anyone else’s.

If I am not mistaken, three years on and they have achieved absolutely nothing: their promise to look at the use of bus lanes; different flashing lights and, of course, to slip breakdown trucks of any age, gracefully into the LEZ and get everyone registered with an ‘R’ licence.

With all else having failed, is the ‘R’ licence now their last chance saloon? They would seem to have no other ideas that would help us.

Having now read the proposal for the ‘R’ licence, carefully concealed in the corner of their website, there is nothing in this proposal that changes me one bit from my stance that the ‘R’ licence is nothing more than a troublesome white elephant. In fact the whole proposal document is a bit wishy-washy and seems to lack worthwhile content. Most of it is taken up with stuff we know already: how an ‘O’ licence system works; we also are aware that people run about with small trucks carrying big Range Rovers; we know people do breakdowns for £20/£30; and what we do know, confirmed by the third from last paragraph, is that the ‘R’ licence alone will make no difference. I am pleased to see that written down.

If the ‘R’ licence was ever to succeed it would have had to include positive changes like allowing us to carry body shop courtesy cars, something it could never do as these things are a matter for the laws of the land and can’t be overridden by an Industry standard.

I note elsewhere that the ‘R’ licence will be potentially enforced by VOSA and the Police who will use their spare time to see to this (I think not).

Surely, people must realise that many of the things that ERRI are trying to put to rights are already part of the laws of the land, so all that is needed is more rigid enforcement by the Authorities. I am pleased to see that the Vehicle Operating Standards Agency, who will soon not want to be referred to as VOSA, are to issue guidelines to their staff with regards to regulating recovery operations and hopefully at the same time let us see what they are telling them.

I have always been a big fan of the law of the land (and occasionally a victim) and I think this type of initiative will go a long way to helping us to stay within the law and at the same time get more out of our present businesses by understanding where there are local loopholes.

Finally, one area that does concern me and should be a concern to all other operators: ERRI claim to be able to make the ‘R’ licence a compulsory requirement for work providers and I believe as a last spiteful gesture they will do just that. If nothing more, it is a conversation across the table followed by a tick in the box. No expense and no thought about the consequences.

Fred Henderson,
Breakdown Doctor.
November, 2012