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Irish hauliers failing to pay HGV levy in Northern Ireland

  • 07 July 2014
  • By Robin Meczes

Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) president Eoin Gavin has confirmed that many operators in Ireland are failing to pay the HGV Road User Levy when travelling into Northern Ireland.

Although the levy has applied by law to foreign-registered trucks in Northern Ireland – as elsewhere in the UK – since April, no enforcement is currently taking place there, NI minister of the environment Mark Durkan revealed recently (CM 5 June). The Department of the Environment has not even yet agreed to be the enforcing body in the region.

Speaking to CM about that lack of enforcement, Gavin said his association – which has long been calling for an exemption from the levy for Irish hauliers in Northern Ireland – welcomed it, adding that many hauliers in the south were only paying the levy in the north if their journey continued into mainland UK, where enforcement is taking place.

Those journeying purely to Northern Ireland, however, are not paying, he stressed. “They’re not paying it – obviously not. The proper legislation isn’t in place, so why should you?” he asked.

Restating the case for an exemption for Irish hauliers operating in NI, Gavin added: “We’re on a small island and it’s just a tax on trade. It’s like charging someone to deliver goods between Manchester and Liverpool.”

Even if Irish hauliers travelling north were prepared to pay for the levy, said Gavin, it would be “financially unviable” for them.

“Businesses south of the border aren’t willing to pay for it, and businesses north of the border aren’t prepared to pay for it,” he explained.

Last week, Road Haulage Association director of policy Jack Semple branded the failure to enforce “a very disappointing lack of support for the haulage industry in Northern Ireland” , but went on to claim that hauliers in Ireland were still “paying the levy in large numbers” (CM 19 June).

The DfT has not so far responded to requests to comment on the lack of enforcement in the region.


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