Commercial vehicle operators in Northern Ireland must take a close look at their loading and unloading arrangements, according to a warning from the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
In 2006 responsibility will shift from the police to the Roads Service, and the FTA says that drivers and companies making multi-drop deliveries to town and city centers in the province, must adhere to local regulations if they are to avoid increased enforcement following the transfer. The changes take place after the decriminalisation of parking and were discussed at a meeting of the Northern Ireland Freight Council of the Freight Transport Association in Belfast at the end of October.
Regional policy manager Tom Wilson says: “Members of FTA make many thousands of multi-drop deliveries and collections in towns and cities throughout Northern Ireland every day. They will now need to carefully reassess their arrangements and identify areas where there is a lack of loading/unloading facilities and where there is the prospect of future fines and penalties.” The FTA is concerned that companies making deliveries, which are to the benefit of local business and the community, should be treated with discretion and not instantly penalised. Wilson goes on to comment: “Such deliveries are providing an important service and their operation must not be unreasonably inhibited.’
There are currently 13 towns and cities in Northern Ireland that contain restricted or pedestrian zones. The new policy will standardise the Roads Service approach to the issue and regulation of vehicular access permits and provide a uniform policy throughout the province. Companies requiring vehicular access permits to enter restricted zones will need to make application to the local office of the Roads Service in the area where the permit is required.
Wilson says: ‘The combination of these changes requires managers and drivers to take a good look at their present arrangements and to ensure that they will still be able to meet the requirements of their customers and to stay within the parking regulations.’