Senior Traffic Commissioner (STC) Richard Turfitt (pictured) has extended to 12 months the maximum grace period that an operator can seek in order to display financial standing. Mr Turfitt has set an initial six-month starting point.

The change applies to any determination made between 1 March and 30 September. It has been introduced in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2020/698. The extension gives operators more time to recover their finances during the extended period following the resumption of normal trading as movement restrictions are eased in the wake of coronavirus COVID-19.

Where an adverse finding has already been made, and the time limit set by a period of grace has not yet expired, it can be extended to a total of 12 months under the change.

“Given the exceptional and short-term circumstances, the STC has directed that a TC may rely on a previously satisfactory financial check that meets the new prescribed sum, no older than the last 12 months, as evidence to support the granting of a period of grace,” the STC’s updated coronavirus COVID-19 statutory document says.

“A TC may also accept internet or copy documents, with a check of original documents to be made at a later date.

“A TC retains their discretion in respect of all standard operators. However, if the qualifying circumstances are met between 1 March and 30 April, then the STC has set a starting point of six months’ period of grace for qualifying operators.

“That starting point is intended to allow for the TC to make an assessment of the impact on road safety before extending to a maximum period of 12 months, should circumstances require that.”

Previously, the maximum grace period to prove financial standing had been extended to six months, with Mr Turfitt having sent four months as a starting point. Operators that are experiencing issues with meeting the financial standing requirement are advised to tell the TC as soon as possible.