Northern Ireland border checks bad for business

Only half the foreign-registered trucks visiting Northern Ireland are paying the HGV Road User Levy, NI minister of the environment, Mark Durkan, has suggested.

Responding recently to a written question about the impact of the HGV Road User Levy on cross-border trade in Ireland, Durkan confirmed: “The most recent data from the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) indicates that compliance is around 50%”.

A spokeman for the Department of the Environment (DOE) has since confirmed that the DVA data Durkan cited was collected after enforcement of the levy finally began in the region last November.

Seamus Leheny, FTA policy and membership relations manager for NI,  said he was disappointed by the figure.

“I was quite surprised – I though the compliance level would be higher,” he said. “I think a lot of people have been unaware that enforcement has begun.”

Neither the DOE nor the DfT has so far commented on the 50% compliance figure, which came out just after transport minister Robert Goodwill claimed the HGV Road User Levy had been “a huge success” in the UK.

Back in November, however, the Irish Road Haulage Association warned enforcement of the levy on Irish vehicle operators would be “very difficult” as there were over 150 different border crossings between Northern Ireland and the ROI.