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Road licensing plan for N Ireland

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Environment minister Edwin Poots has announced a new licensing system for the commercial road transport in Northern Ireland.

Under the new scheme, commercial drivers with a verifiable UK address may be fined with a fixed penalty notice, but those unable to provide such an address will be required to pay an on-the-spot deposit - failure to pay the deposit will see the vehicle immobilised.

The new legislation would introduce a graduated fixed penalty and deposit scheme where, in future, the severity of the penalty would be matched to the degree of the offence.

Speaking at the Freight Transport Association's (FTA) Transport Manager Seminar in Newcastle, Mr Poots said that the plan would result in a safer and fairer road freight industry.

The province is behind the rest of the UK in implementing the legislation, and so the minister added that he would press ahead without delay in putting the Goods Vehicle (Licensing of Operators) Bill through the Assembly.

The Bill will extend Operating Licensing, commonly known as O-licensing, to all sectors within the industry, a move designed to improve road safety and environmental standards, introduce fairer competition and help tackle organised crime.

© Press Association 2009