FTA has backed the decision of the MLAs recent vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly against the motion opposing the introduction of the HGV levy for hauliers from outside of the UK to pay to use the Northern Ireland road network.
Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) brought five prayers of annulment against elements of the Road Traffic Offenders Order, which required HGV’s at 12,000kgs and above from the Republic of Ireland and elsewhere outside of the UK to pay a fee to use NI roads; all five prayers of annulment were defeated at the plenary vote at Stormont on the 4th of November.
Commenting on the decision the Freight Transport Association (FTA) stated that it was the “right decision” and highlighted that had the secondary legislation not been passed by the NI Assembly and the Minister for Environment that the Department for Transport (DfT) would put in place their own procedures to enforce the HGV Road User Levy. FTA also said that if it were not to be enforced in NI then infraction fines from the European Union were likely.
Seamus Leheny, FTA Policy & Membership Relations Manager – Northern Ireland commented:
“The delay for NI in comparison to the rest of the UK was all down to this obstacle of the local Northern Ireland Assembly passing this secondary legislation. FTA believes that the decision of the NI Assembly was the right one and that it was not one that Minister Durkan could ignore. This is a tax issue which is dictated from Westminster by the UK government, and had it not been passed in the NI Assembly we would only face infraction fines from the EU and we are sure that the DfT in London would have introduced their own procedures to enforce the HGV Road User Levy in Northern Ireland.”
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said the levy was "generally supported" by most hauliers in the North as well as FTA. Commenting on the decision Minister Durkan said:
“There was "clear evidence that a significant number of Irish hauliers are already paying it" and "around 51,000 levies have been purchased for around 7,000 Irish vehicles in the 6 months since the levy became law."