Ford says Wilson must ensure fairness for local hauliers

Alliance Leader David Ford has called for Minister Sammy Wilson to take urgent action to stop freight drivers from Northern Ireland being treated less favourably than those from England, Scotland or Wales in dealings with the police in Great Britain. The Road Haulage Association said that while vocational licences from England, Scotland or Wales can be checked quickly, no check of this kind can be made on Northern Ireland licences, so drivers from here often have to provide extra information and this can mean delays for them.

David Ford said: “In recent months, the Assembly Environment Committee spent many days working through the Goods Vehicle (Licensing of Operators) Bill which would bring the standards for road freight vehicles in Northern Ireland up to those applying in Great Britain. However, the Minister is currently back-pedalling on the Bill and has not brought it back to the Assembly.

“Those who are suffering from this are decent law-abiding freight companies and their drivers from Northern Ireland. Because the standards of enforcement are so low here, there is a natural tendency for police in Great Britain to treat all Northern Ireland drivers with some suspicion.

“It is time that we had higher standards in Northern Ireland and that there was full co-ordination with the computer system operated by DVLA in Swansea and DVA in Coleraine. It is not acceptable that legitimate businesses are suffering through no fault of their own.”


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