A COACH firm, which runs buses to a number of West Devon schools and was due to be stripped of its license, has been granted an appeal and allowed to continue trading for the time being. Carmel Coaches has been granted an appeal after the traffic commissioner for the West of England had revoked the firm's license following the publication of a report into the safety of its vehicles. In the report, the traffic commissioner outlined defects involving brakes, seat belts, tyres and emergency exits but since then spot checks have been carried out unannounced by independent vehicle examiners on behalf of Devon County Council with more than half of the vehicles owned by the company found to have no defects at all and some with minor defects which were rectified immediately — none have been taken off the road. The firm, which runs school buses to Okehampton College and Hatherleigh, South Tawton and Halwill primary schools, has been granted the appeal and has been given a stay of execution, which means it is now able to continue operating beyond July 31, when the license was due to be stopped, pending the outcome of the appeal for which a date is yet to be set. One of the coaches owned by the firm was involved in an accident between Plymouth and Looe in May, in which two women died. The company has stressed that the vehicle involved in the incident did not have any defects. Carmel Coaches director Tony Hazell said he felt the decision by the traffic commissioner was 'harsh'. He said: 'We feel we have been really harshly treated. We've been in business for 30 years and this is the first time we have been called for a public enquiry — some businesses are called for a public enquiry every year. 'The decision by the traffic commissioner seems over the top, and although she said she wasn't influenced by the crash, I think all the media reports surrounding it may have put pressure on her.' Mr Hazell said the coach involved in the crash was checked by ten independent engineers who found no defects, but with the backlash the company has received since, the coach 'may as well have had no breaks'. 'We are waiting for an appeal date and as fairly normal procedure, are able to carry on as usual,' he said: 'We hope that the decision from the traffic commissioner will be overturned.' Mr Hazell said all the school buses have had random spot checks everyday for the last three weeks and no vehicles had been taken off the road and no major defects had been reported. He said public enquiries like this are held every week across the UK but his company has had a lot of adverse publicity from it which had affected his business. 'We're just doing our best to try to recover from it,' he said. A Devon County Council spokesman said: 'We are monitoring the progress of the company's appeal. However, we have awarded the public service routes which Carmel were operating for us to a number of other operators.