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Department of the Environment (DOE)

Northern Ireland Environment Agency

Driver & Vehicle Agency

Transport Regulation Unit

Who we are

The Department’s Transport Regulation Unit (TRU) exercises the functions of the Goods Vehicles Licensing of Operators Act (Northern Ireland) 2010. This legislation was brought in at the request of the freight industry, public representatives and consumer organisations to address the low rate of compliance by Northern Ireland Heavy Goods Vehicle operators. TRU has been responsible for goods vehicles operator licensing in Northern Ireland since 1 July 2012.

What we do

We issue operator licences and hold public hearings on all matters pertaining to operator licensing. We seek to ensure that licence holders meet the standards set for entry into the commercial vehicle operator industry to minimise the environmental and road safety impact around goods vehicles operating centres. We have the power to curtail, suspend and revoke operator licences; and in extreme cases disqualify people from holding an operator’s licence.

What the law requires

The law requires that all vehicles with a gross weight over 3500kg, used to transport goods as part of a business or trade, must be covered by an operator’s licence. The law, which came into effect from 1 July 2012, requires all operators to sign up to a series of undertakings. DOE has the power to impound vehicles if they are discovered on the public road without an operator’s licence when one is required.

Legislative Background

The Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act, introduced to the NI Assembly in May 2008, completed its passage through the Assembly and became an Act on 22 January 2010. The Act amended the Department’s powers in relation to the regulation of goods vehicles operators, bringing Northern Ireland largely (but not wholly) into line with the current practice in place in Great Britain. The detailed provisions were introduced through a series of sets of regulations.

Applications, Guidance and Goods Vehicle Operator Self-Service

Application forms and guidance for goods vehicles operator licences are available on the nidirect website, in the Motoring section. Existing licence holders can update details online using the Goods Vehicles Operator Self Service tools on the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency website. Links to these sites and pages can be found below.

We publish details of applications (and associated decisions) for new licences or variations to existing licences. Details of these can be found on our Applications and Decisions page.

Useful links

Contact Us

Telephone: 0300 200 7831


Department of the Environment
Transport Regulation Unit
Causeway Exchange
1-7 Bedford Street
Town Parks

Further Information