Northern Ireland is to extend HGV driving licences and reinstate specialist vehicle testing.

The Driver and Vehicle Agency will reinstate individual vehicle approval (IVA) inspections and will introduce a statutory authorisation process that will permit the continued use of ADR vehicles on the road from 1 June.

Seamus Leheny, FTA policy manager for Northern Ireland, said: “The absence of IVA inspections meant that many FTA members in NI – from operators, vehicle manufacturers and vehicle dealerships – were unable to complete purchases of certain types of vehicles used in the transport of food, fuel, health, waste and construction across Northern Ireland.

“As a result, millions of pounds in business deals were stalled, jeopardising jobs and businesses during this economically challenging time."

NI infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon also announced the extension of driving licences in Northern Ireland.

Leheny said: “The minister’s decision to extend driving licenses validity will provide job security and peace of mind for drivers and employers alike; driver licence renewals have been a concern for the transport sector since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic due to the difficulty in securing medical tests, an issue FTA has engaged on with the DVA and various ministers consistently.”