The Irish Road Haulage Association is opposing the introduction of a new €11 levy on truck tyres, which is due to come into force on January 1, claiming the levy is unjustifiable and will force haulage operators to source tyres from outside the State.
Appearing before the Joint Senate Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Ms Verona Murphy, President of the Irish Road Haulage Association stated the imposition of a charge of €11 per truck tyre is unjustifiable and ignores the commercial reality facing haulage operators in Ireland.
She said that the IRHA has made it clear to the Department that the charge will force members to purchase tyres outside of the State as hauliers are already absorbing numerous cost increases and cannot countenance a new charge.
Ms Murphy told the Committee that the IRHA is willing to support a scheme that tackles the illegal dumping or storing of waste tyres but that the scheme must be well planned, properly executed and above all must amount to a fair and proportionate response to the problem.
Ms Murphy said that the IRHA is deeply concerned at the arbitrary manner in which the €11 charge was decided and has yet to receive a cost breakdown analysis of the charge despite requesting same from the Department.
Ms Murphy said that truck tyres account for a tiny percentage of total tyres sold in the State and are already fully recycled, through reuse within the State and then by exporting. However, the proposed charge is almost four times the charge for a car tyre.
A number of Members of the Committee, including Senator Michael McDowell echoed Ms Murphy’s concerns about the charge of €11 on truck tyres and agreed that this would inevitably lead to haulage operators sourcing their tyres in Northern Ireland and elsewhere. Deep concern was expressed by
Committee members including Fine Gael’s Senator Joe O’Reilly and Sinn Féin’s Brian Stanley that the fact that Northern Ireland do not have a similar scheme in place will lead to serious market distortion and put jobs South of the boarder at risk.
Fianna Fáil’s Robert Troy TD, who expressed concern about the fact that there was no tendering process involved in the appointment of Repak as the approved body to run the scheme, was critical of the lack of answers forthcoming on a number of concerns raised about the new scheme including why there is a charge of €11 for tyres on haulage vehicles. He said that Hauliers are working on very small margins and any new cost that is introduced that isn’t needed has a consequence on their business and the jobs that they provide in their communities and added that it was disappointing that it appears no cognisance is taken of that fact in what is been done.
Deputy Troy said that, in his mind, there is nothing in the Regulations that will deter the non-compliant person or catch the cowboy. He said the person caught by this scheme through additional increased charges is the person who is already compliant year in year out. He said that there needs to be a revisit of this and that the Department needs to go back and work with the stakeholders.
Fianna Fáil’s Kevin O’Keefe TD asked had due consideration been given, when setting the rate of the charge on haulage truck tyres, that hauliers are already under renewed pressure since the derogation allowing 42 tonne weight limit on 5 axle vehicles was brought to an end thereby reducing carrying capacity and income.
Ms Murphy spoke of how members of the IRHA are already facing a considerable threat to their viability arising from uncertainty associated with Brexit and the IRHA must oppose any further costs which are either unnecessary or not properly grounded. She added that policy makers in Ireland need to ensure that this vital component of Irish economic life is protected to the greatest extent possible. Ms Murphy said that a 0% rate should be applied to haulage truck tyres, as it is at present for agricultural tyres, for an initial period of at least 36 months to allow the industry cope with this hugely challenging period.
The Irish Road Haulage Association is the recognised national representative body of the licensed road haulage industry in the Republic of Ireland. There are approximately 3,700 licensed haulage operators at present in Ireland. The sector supports 50,000 jobs, accounting for approximately 2.5% of total employment in the Irish economy. Ms Murphy told the Committee that most of her members are based in rural areas throughout the country providing local jobs.