Sinn Féin Councillor Gary Doherty has today joined in with calls for the British Government to reverse a new levy to be imposed on all HGV’s entering the Six Counties.
Under the new legislation all HGVs crossing the border between Donegal and the six counties will be liable to pay £10 each time they cross the boundary.
Councillor Doherty was joining in the calls of his party colleague Pat Doherty who is the MP for West Tyrone. Cllr Doherty said “this levy is against the ethos of the European Union working to eliminate borders which separate people. In particular this levy aims to separate the people of Northern Ireland from the rest of the island of Ireland.
He continued “haulage firms are under extreme pressure in the current climate without adding insult to injury by imposing this levy. The price of fuel has remained at a high level. These costs will impact on the business which utilise haulage firms and these costs would eventually come back to hit the average consumer. That is without even thinking about how this levy would work on a practical level. Will we be faced with the return of checkpoints at the border like the bad old days?
“I think this is a very draconian measure by the British Government. I would urge all elected representatives of all parties to oppose this levy and to use whatever lobbying powers they have to prevent it from coming into force. I applaud the work done by Pat Doherty in Westminster in highlighting this issue and Pearse Doherty who has met with Government representatives in Leinster House urging them to meet with the British Government to dissuade them of this levy.
Pat Doherty described the new plans as “crazy”.
He said “Once again we have an example of policy being formulated at Westminster which gives no consideration to the economic or geographical realities on this island.
“Last September, I wrote to the Minister of Dept of Transport in London outlining these concerns but the subsequent response from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State from the Department Stephen Hammond was completely dismissive by attempting to equate the planned £10 levy with the ‘Toll Charges’ that are payable on HGV vehicles on some motorways in the south.
Sinn Féin has also been raising our serious concerns about these British government levy plans through the Assembly’s Environment Committee and will be firmly asking Environment Minister Mark H Durkan to ensure that these levy plans are blocked in our submission to the consultation into these levy plans which closes on the 4th February and we would urge as many people as possible to similarly register their opposition to these plans by in making submissions to this consultation.