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Wiltshire Council issues update on Denwell Coaches school transport

Wiltshire Council has today (Friday 9 February) taken the decision to stop using Denwell Coaches, which provides transport to two schools in the county.

Published 9 February 2024

Denwell Coaches operates transport contracts for the council to Royal Wootton Bassett Academy and Bradon Forest School in Purton, but it has had its operator's licence revoked by the Traffic Commissioner, which is responsible for the licensing of bus operators.

One of the reasons that the licence was revoked was concerns about the maintenance of the vehicles, but the Traffic Commissioner was satisfied that the remedial measures the company had already put in place would keep the vehicles safe for a short period of time, and decided to delay the termination of the company's licence to operate until 31 March. The council took this advice from the Traffic Commissioner and continued to use Denwell Coaches, on the basis that the vehicles were safe.

Since that decision, Denwell Coaches' sister operation, Igobus, suffered a coach fire in Gloucestershire, and so the council has taken the decision to stop using Denwell Coaches for any school transport with immediate effect.

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: The safety of the pupils we transport to and from school is of paramount importance and so we have taken the decision stop using Denwell Coaches with immediate effect.

We had previously taken the Traffic Commissioner's advice and continued to use the company because the commissioner was satisfied that the vehicles could be operated safely until Denwell Coaches' operator's licence ends on 31 March. However, while we wouldn't want to speculate on the causes of the coach fire, this incident in Gloucestershire has made us reconsider.

We have contacted the schools and arranged alternative transport for all affected pupils this afternoon (Friday). We are now working hard to secure suitable alternative transport for when the children return from half-term on Monday 19 February.

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