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FA calls for 0-licensing in Northern Ireland

16th February 2006
Page 9
Page 9, 16th February 2006 — FA calls for 0-licensing in Northern Ireland
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A COM PREHENSIVEoperator licensing system should be set up in Northern Ireland to help stop fuel smuggling and save the Treasury up to f500m a year, a Parliamentary committee was told last week.

The Select Committee on Northern Ireland was told by the Freight Transport Association (MA) that 0-licences would enable the authorities to enforce the law more easily.

At the moment, only hire-orreward hauliers are required to have 0-licences in Northern Ireland in the rest of the UK, all truck operators need them.

Tom Wilson. the FTA's policy manager for Northern Ireland. says that when he briefed the

committee on the province's unique position on 0-licences "ii was as if nobody had told them about this before".

Fuel smuggling from the Republic of Ireland into Northern Ireland is commonplace. says Wilson. Fuel in the Republic is up to 20p per litre cheaper than in the North.

"It has been suggested that the smuggling results in a loss to the Treasury of £380m a year," he says. -However. I think that it could be worse than that perhaps as much as £500m."

• Customs officers in Northern Ireland have closed down three fuel-laundering plants in South Armagh. The sites were found near the village of Cullyhana.

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