Environment Minister Alex Attwood MLA has confirmed that Operator Licensing would be introduced into Northern Ireland by April.
The scope for the new ‘O-licensing’ regime was passed in January 2010.
Tom Wilson, FTA’s Head of Policy for Northern Ireland said: “We have put the need for an O-licensing regime for all truck operators right at the top of our agenda. We believe that through this we can significantly improve the safety standards of HGVs on Northern Ireland’s roads. If commercial vehicle owners were legally bound to make regular, preventative maintenance checks and drivers were properly trained to detect vehicle faults then this would reduce congestion resulting from vehicle breakdowns, improve air quality and reduce those indirect costs associated with unreliable deliveries and vehicle downtime.”
Licensing of transport operators has had a positive impact on road safety in Great Britain, where it has existed for over forty years requiring commercial vehicle operators to hold an ‘O-licence’ to carry goods connected with any trade or business on a vehicle over 3.5 tonnes, whether for ‘own account trade’ or ‘hire and reward’. However, this new legislation will mean that every goods vehicle operator in Northern Ireland will now be legally required to hold an O-licence.
Photo: Left to right; Donald Armstrong, DOE Head of Traffic Regulation Unit; Tom Wilson, FTA; ALex Attwood, MLA Minister for the Environment and Mike Webb, FTA.