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New Proposals Pose Threat to Community Transport and Potentially to Volunteers

26 October 2017

The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) is planning to issue new guidance which will impact on driver licensing and section 10b permits.

These permits allow community transport operators and other not for profit organisations to operate vital transport services on behalf of their members and communities. The new licensing was originally to come into effect on 1st January 2018, however it was discovered just last week that they plan to bring it into effect from 1st November 2017. England, Scotland & Wales have been given a 3 year transition time to adhere to this new legislation however NI has not. Such guidance will have devastating consequences for our community transport services and those voluntary organisations operating vehicles.

While it will have an obvious impact on drivers of community transport minibuses, it will also impact on those who do occasional driving for schools, church groups, day centres, sports groups and charities. They will be breaking the law from 1st November if they drive without the new licence. The position regarding volunteers who drive minibuses is however ambiguous. Go to the consultation at https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/consultations/consultations-proposed-changes-section-10b-permits-and-guidance-minibus-driving and make sure your voice is heard.

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