Over 4,700 restricted O-licences issued in Northern Ireland in the past year
More than 4,700 restricted operating licences were issued in Northern Ireland in the year to 31 March, after the introduction of new operator licensing rules there in July 2012.
New statistics just published by the Department for Regional Development show 4,724 restricted licences were issued during the year, alongside 394 national and 1,453 international O-licences.
A spokesman for the Transport Regulation Unit (TRU), the body within the Department of Environment tasked with handling operator licensing in Northern Ireland, stressed the new rules had only come into effect during the year, and described the number of restricted licence permits issued so far as “a very large proportion of the industry”.
Earlier this year, TRU head Donald Armstrong told CM there were 6,000-7,000 vehicle operators who should have applied for a restricted licence under the new rules.
During May, June and July, letters were sent out to around 3,000 operators whose vehicles were tested in the last year but who were not listed on any operator’s licence, said the TRU spokesman.
Since March, a “few hundred” further licence applications had been received, he said.
The Driver and Vehicle Agency continues to ramp up its licensing enforcement activities, he added, with a number of prosecutions in progress and impounding of unlicensed vehicles set to begin this autumn.