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.

LGV involvement in fatal road accidents crept up last year

LGVs accounted for 10.2% of vehicles involved in fatal road accidents in 2012, up from 8.4% the previous year, new statistics from the Department for Transport (DfT) have shown.Figures on reported road casualties during 2012 show that out of 2,850 vehicles involved in fatalities in Great Britain last year, 292 were LGVs.

Commercial Motor 26 September issue - on sale now!

This week’s Commercial Motor is guest-edited by Richard Fry – the deputy MD of Frampton’s Transport Services and former chairman of the Road Haulage Association – and he brings years of experience in the business to another bumper issue!We take a look at issues close to Fry’s heart – including:

A14 toll is a tax on Suffolk hauliers says trade body

Plans to charge hauliers up to £3 for using the A14 amount to a “toll tax”, leaving the region’s haulage operators at a competitive disadvantage, according to business leaders.The warning from Suffolk Chambers of Commerce came as it launched a campaign against the plans to construct a toll road in Cambridgeshire.

Hammersmith flyover project will complete in 2015

The final phase of maintenance work on the Hammersmith flyover in London is scheduled to begin next month (October) with completion due in early 2015.The maintenance project, which began in late 2011, has involved strengthening the flyover’s 16 spans, replacing the bearings carrying the structure, renewing carriageway drainage, and waterproofing and resurfacing the entire structure.

Variable speed limits set for M4

Variable mandatory speed limits may start operating between J19 and J20 of the M4 near Bristol as early as Thursday (26 September) as part of the delivery of the managed motorway upgrade scheme, the Highways Agency has confirmed.The agency plans to open the hard shoulder on the M4 on a trial basis only in coming weeks, before making it fully operational later in the year after the testing and commissioning phase.

Repute tarnished for running haulage firm via Skype

A Kent haulage boss who attempted to manage transport operations from Canada using video-call service Skype has had his repute severely tarnished.In a decision following a public inquiry in September in Eastbourne, South East traffic commissioner (TC) Nick Denton (pictured) was told how Graham Wilson was sole director and nominated transport manager of Gillingham-based GTW Transport when Vosa carried out a maintenance investigation in October 2012.