The FTA says the passing into law of Northern Ireland’s new O-licensing regime will help remove "cowboy" firms from the road.

The Goods Vehicles Licensing of Operators Transport Bill was passed by the Northern Ireland Assembly yesterday (11 June), ushering in a new era of governance in the territory.

The FTA has campaigned for the introduction of the regime, along with other industry partners, for years, believing better enforcement will benefit those running compliant freight businesses in the region.

From July, it brings Northern Ireland inline with the rest of the UK,  with all operators of commercial vehicles above 3.5 tonnes included within the scope of the O-licensing for the first time.

Tom Wilson, FTA’s head of policy in Northern Ireland, says: “The Goods Vehicles Licensing of Operators Transport Bill has been an overriding priority for FTA in Northern Ireland for many years, and to know the final hurdle has been cleared and that the much needed legislation has now been approved, can only be good news to the industry.”

The new legislation, which is due to come into force from July, will see the introduction of road safety enforcement in the region. These will include new vehicle safety checks and planned preventative maintenance requirements, together with greater powers of enforcement at the roadside, in operator premises and through licensing curtailment.