The Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTAI) has voiced its support for the decision of the Department of Environment (DoE) Northern Ireland to revoke the operator’s licences from three freight operators for using laundered fuel.
The licences of Mr Padraig Daly, who traded as PD Refrigerated, Dungannon, Co Tyrone, Mr Kevin Peter Johnston, Johnston Tipper Services, Ballyronan, Co Derry and Mr Wadsworth James Bethel, of Banbridge, Co Down were revoked for the illegal use of fuel and other infringements under the Goods Vehicle (Licensing of Operators) Act (Northern Ireland) 2010.
Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said:“The majority of goods vehicle operators work within the law. These decisions reinforce the clear message to any operator, tempted to indulge in wrong practices, including the illegal use of fuel, to think again.”
Neil McDonnell, FTA Ireland General Manager commented: “FTA Ireland is delighted at the DoE’s decision, as we believe Operator Licence revocation is the only appropriate response in these circumstances. This type of illegal activity is destroying lawful and fair competition in the transport sector.”
FTA Ireland also stated that it hopes that the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) will look to take comparable action against any transport operators convicted of similar offences in the Republic, adding that it believes that DTTAS should consider as a serious offence any conviction for a transport operator under the Finance Act 1999.
Mr McDonnell added:“Such operators cannot be considered as being of good repute, and should have their road haulage licence revoked. The potential rewards for operators using laundered fuel are so substantial, that fines or imprisonment alone are not a sufficient deterrent, these operators must also be disqualified from trading as licensed transport operators.”
FTA Ireland had previously called on the government to take action to combat the issue which has seen €millions being made from illegal sales. FTAI outlined the enormous financial loss to the Irish Revenue through the use of illicit and washed diesel, saying that as a result the issue is causing huge damage to compliant operators.
McDonnell concluded:”Operators who use laundered fuel can very substantially undercut law-abiding operators, removing fair competition, and depriving the State of tax revenues.”