Monday, July 2, 2012

Road Haulage Association on Website, Fuel and Northern Irish Freight Standards

Good Week for the RHA - Bad Week for Irish Industry Cheats
Shipping News Feature

UK – Seemingly it’s all good news coming from the Road Haulage Association (RHA) this past week with three separate issues at the very top of their agenda. Firstly of course the RHA has seen partial success following their support for the FairFuel UK lobbying to have the proposed August rise in fuel duty suspended for the rest of the year. The campaign, backed by other freight associations, now has over 300,000 signatures on their petition to have the duty rise scrapped altogether.

Now, the RHA has welcomed the Irish Goods Vehicles Act which finally came into force yesterday following a fourteen year campaign and which will bring Northern Ireland into line with the rest of the UK. The new legislation will see much better standards of safety and enforcement in general and matches parallel efforts further south to raise industry standards across the whole of Ireland. RHA Director for Scotland and Northern Ireland, Phil Flanders commented:

“This is good news for Northern Ireland operators, O licensing has applied to all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes in England, Scotland and Wales for many years. It’s taken a lot of hard work but Northern Ireland has at last come into line with the rest of the UK. This will have a big impact on many hauliers who, up until now, have been operating very close to the line of the law with quite a number breaking various laws.”

“Those who have been operating vehicles that are poorly maintained or have been non-compliant with other regulations will finally be forced to either, quite literally, clean up their act or lose their licence. This is very good news for our industry and will go a long way to helping improve its image as well as creating a level playing field. The Minister and his team are to be commended for their support and commitment for making this long overdue piece of legislation actually happen."

The final fillip for the RHA was that last week the collected the accolade for “Website of the Year” at the 2012 Trade Association Forum Best Practice Awards which recognise, reward and promote best practice amongst trade associations in the UK. The prestigious event, attended by over 300 guests was held at Plaisterers’ Hall in London and was hosted by FairFuelUK spokesman Quentin Wilson. RHA Operations Director Richard Ellithorne said:

“Reaching the shortlist at the TAF Best Practice Awards was exciting in itself, but to come away as the winner in our category came as a wonderful surprise. A lot of hard work goes into making an invaluable tool for our members and it is tremendously encouraging for us all to have that hard work recognised. We are thrilled to have won this award and are keen to build on our websites success.”

Photo: Boyle Transport (NI) Ltd. registered in Newry, County Down and incorporated in 2011. In May 2011 two directors of Boyle Transport, a company registered some years before in County Armagh and seemingly having identical vehicle livery, were jailed and disqualified from holding directorships, for the falsification of tachograph records following ‘wiring adjustments’ in five of the company’s trucks. Fifteen drivers, most of whom gave evidence, were also found guilty of tachograph offences.

During the case drivers were discovered to have driven up to 22 hours consecutively. The prosecution followed investigations by Cumbria police into the company’s operations in Northern England and Scotland where the bulk of operations were performed yet not discovered by Northern Irish authorities where the company was registered and to all intents and purposes worked from.