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The reduced density and complexity of the traffic may have relaxed the aerodrome controller to the degree that he was less alert than required when clearing WBA to land. The use of the 'runway obstructed' strip and the 'runway designator' strip should have assisted the controller to maintain an adequate awareness of the vehicle activity on the airfield. However, at the time of the occurrence, the 'runway designator' strip provided misleading information on the runway obstruction.

Although he scanned the runway prior to clearing WBA to land, the aerodrome controller did not expect to see a vehicle, as he was aware that the tractors were no longer obstructing the runway. Both strips had been in the bay for some time, which could have served to further diminish possible recall that Car 23 was now on the runway. It is also likely that the white colour of Car 23 made it difficult to see against the background of white runway markings or white gable markers. Consequently, without an effective alert to the presence of the vehicle on the runway, the controller's scan was inadequate to see Car 23.

The reason why the aerodrome controller did not follow his normal practice and change the notation on the 'runway designator' strip to indicate that Car 23 was on runway 21 could not be determined.

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