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November 08 2017
By Mel Holley

A former routeone editor, Mel has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

NI moves to ‘clarify’ permit
operation ahead of deadline

Northern Ireland’s Department for Infrastructure (DoI) has written to operators, to “clarify the requirements for minibus drivers and operators under existing legislation” and says it “expects the majority” of community and voluntary organisations will be unaffected.

The DoI is carrying out a consultation on the subject. As a result of its letter to operators, it has extended deadline for response to 8 December.

The Department for Infrastructure has written to all operators

The letter reveals that the DoI has been threatened with a legal challenge, by an undisclosed party, “against the current arrangements with regards to Section 10B permits and minibus driving.” Section 10B permits are similar to Section 19 permits in Great Britain.

It says it is “aware of correspondence” issued by the Department for Transport on 31 July “addressing similar issues.”

In a statement the DoI says: “This is a complex area and while the legislation has not changed, the requirements the existing legislation places on drivers and operators has not always been clear. 

“The revised guidance confirms that anyone who is paid to drive must have a full D or D1 category licence and any operator who charges people must hold an O-Licence. 

“Volunteer drivers will continue to be able to drive for voluntary organisations and the majority of voluntary groups will be able to continue operating under section 10B permits.

“It will mean changes to how some services are licensed and regulated, particularly in the community transport sector.

“Organisations affected need to take action to become compliant as quickly as possible and we will work with those committed to transitioning to enable them to do so.”

The DoI has established a working group with the Community Transport Association, Rural Community Transport Partnerships and Disability Action “with the objective of ensuring these services are maintained.”

Find out More: Letter and FAQ at

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