Traffic Commissioner Nick Denton to retire on 31 May

Traffic Commissioner Nick Denton to retire

Traffic Commissioner (TC) for the West Midlands Nick Denton will retire on 31 May, ending a ten-year tenure as a TC that began in the London and South East region.

Mr Denton has conducted over 2,000 Public Inquiries since his appointment in 2012. Those have seen the revocation of 550 O-Licences and the suspension or curtailment of 750 more. In a letter to routeone, he notes that of 120 appeals against his decisions to the Upper Tribunal, “only 18 have been wholly or partially successful.”

While Mr Denton will step down from being a TC, he will remain active in the transport sector, not least as a Deputy TC (DTC). He was also recently appointed to the new Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Independent Review Panel. There he will consider appeals by pilots and air traffic controllers who have had their licences suspended or revoked but who believe that CAA has not followed due process.

As a career civil and public servant, Mr Denton joined the then-Department of Transport (DoT) in January 1985, under Secretary of State Nicholas Ridley. “Since then, I have served under 19 successors,” he notes. Before that, he spent three years as a teacher.

Illustrating the breadth of experience within the TC function, Mr Denton’s career with DoT and its successor the Department for Transport included six months in the European Commission drafting common EU rules for seatbelt wearing and MoT tests; negotiating the liberalisation of the European aviation and road transport markets in the run up to the single market; and negotiating the rights for the first UK low-cost airline to fly to Eastern Europe.

The latter task saw airline Go establish a route from London to Prague. “Some years afterwards, wading through the litter and vomit in the Prague streets left by British stag parties, I wondered what I had done,” he recalls. He also spent three years in Montreal as the UK’s representative at the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

In addition to continuing to serve as a Deputy TC, Mr Denton will also be involved in Transport Manager CPC examination setting and marking, writing and delivering training courses, and auditing operators.

“Sadly, as reported regularly in Court Report, there are still operators who come before me because they are operating vehicles in poor roadworthy condition and because they do not understand how (or can’t be bothered) to monitor drivers’ hours. There is still a lot to do!” he concludes.

No announcement has yet been made about a successor to Nick Denton as Traffic Commissioner for the West Midlands.