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Department of the Environment (DOE)

Northern Ireland Environment Agency

Driver & Vehicle Agency

Transport Regulation Unit


Please click the link below to take you to the page where you can download an application form for an Operators Licence under the Goods Vehicle Act 2010

Click here to take you to the Applications page for a Goods Vehicle Operators Licence

Goods Vehicle Operator Self-Service

Please click the below link to take you to the Goods Vehicle Operator Self-Service webpage on the DOE website.

Goods Vehicle Operator Self Service

Making an Objection, Complaint or Representation in relation to an existing Operator or application

The below document provides further guidance on making an objection or representation to an existing Goods Vehicle Licence holder or a current application.  If you require further information you should email the Transport Regulation Unit at  Additionally, you can write to us at the address at the bottom of this page.

A Guide to Making Representations, Objections and Complaints (128KB)

Who we are

The Department of the Environment's Transport Regulation Unit (TRU) was formed to exercise the functions of the Goods Vehicle Licensing of Operators Act (Northern Ireland) 2010 (“the Goods Vehicles Act”). This new 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 Vehicles. From 1 July 2012, the TRU is responsible for goods vehicle operator licensing in Northern Ireland.

What we do

The TRU issues operator licences and holds public hearings on all matters pertaining to operator licensing. It seeks to ensure that licence holders meet the standards set for entry into the commercial vehicle operator industry and seeks to minimise the environmental and road safety impact around goods vehicles operating centres. The TRU has the power to curtail, suspend and revoke operator licences; and in extreme cases disqualify people from holding an operators licence.

What the law requires and by when

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 came into effect from 1 July 2012 and requires all operators to sign up to a series of undertakings (detailed below). The Department will have 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 amends 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 are being introduced through a series of sets of regulations.

The Act can be accessed at: in a new window.

Types of Operator Licences

There are 3 types of operators licence.

  1. Restricted Licence – for those who only carry their own goods or materials in connection with their trade or business. This licence covers all transport operations in the UK.
  2. Standard (National) Licence – for those who carry their own goods or materials in connection with their trade or business and/or carry goods for hire or reward. This licence covers all transport operations in the UK. A Transport Manager CPC qualification is required to be held by somebody in or employed by the company.
  3. Standard (International) Licence – same as above except this licence covers transport operations throughout Europe.

Costs of licence

For any licence (Restricted or Standard) all applicants including those that had an existing Hire or Reward Licence before 01 July 2012 must pay the one-off £254.00 application fee.  If the licence application is successful, operators will then have to pay a licensing fee of £449, which covers a period of 5 years.


Application fee for a licence GV(NI)79 or for a (publishable) variation (GV(NI)81)   £254   
Application fee for a Restricted Licence for own-account operators   £254   
Fee payable for the issue of a licence   £449   

Fee payable for the continuation of an existing licence.

N.B.  If you had an already existing Hire or Reward licence prior to 01 July 2012, you will still be required to pay the application fee of £254.00 when submitting your application to renew your licence.

Fee payable for the issue of an interim licence or direction   £68   


How do I apply for a licence?

If you are applying for a licence you must first identify which type of licence it is you require.  Information on the different types of licences are included on this page and in the linked documents below and the sidebar on the right-hand side of this page.  Once you have identified the type of licence you will require please click this link which will take you to the applications section of the website where you can download the relevant application form.

Transitional Arrangements

For existing hire or reward operators, licences granted under the previous legislation, the Transport Act, will remain valid until the licence expires.

New Operators - Own Account or Hire or Reward Operators (those starting up a new business)

All new operators applying for a licence are required to meet the standards of the Goods Vehicle Act in full.  This means applicants will have to satisfy standards of fitness/good repute, financial standing, establishment and professional competence as well as advertising their operating centres, meeting environmental standards and signing undertakings.   

They need to complete appropriate application forms and guidance notes will be available to help them.

The completed application form along with the payment and all necessary supporting documentation should be returned to DOE, Central Licensing Office, PO Box 180, Leeds, LS9 1BU

Once an application has been processed a letter will be sent advising of its reference number.  If further information is required the applicant will be advised in an initial letter.

Applicants must not operate vehicles until a licence has been issued.  If an applicant needs to start operating urgently they can apply to the Department for an interim licence.

Guidance Documents

Contact Details

If you wish to write or email any queries to the TRU we will endeavour to provide an answer within 10 working days. Contact us:

By Email:

By Telephone: 0300 200 7831

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

Further Information