Transport government, planning and delivery in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Executive is the devolved power-sharing government of Northern Ireland for areas of public policy that have been devolved from the UK government (transport, health, justice/police, environment, housing and some taxation).

In January 2017 the Executive collapsed after a political fall out. Since then government, with its 27,172 employees has continued, but the lack of an Executive means that no new policy is generated and the budget is set by Ministers in Westminster.

Transport policy and planning is devolved in Northern Ireland to the Executive, with the exception of aviation and shipping.

Most non-devolved transport powers are for where there is a need for consistent provision of treatment and approach between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. More details are here, including a downloadable report.

Unlike Scotland and Wales, vehicle and driver registration are devolved. Operator Licensing for goods and passenger is also devolved

The Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA), an executive agency of the Northern Ireland Department for Infrastructure, is responsible for setting and enforcing standards for drivers and vehicles, registering drivers, and the issuing of licences. Unlike Great Britain, DVA services are not available online.

Restructuring of the Executives ministries and departments in 2016, saw transport – previously covered by two departments – merged into one: the Department for Infrastructure

Its main responsibilities are:

  • Regional strategic planning and development
  • Transport strategy and sustainable transport
  • Public roads
  • Public transport (including Translink)
  • Air and sea ports
  • Water and sewerage services

Local authorities in Northern Ireland have no statutory responsibilities with regard to transport policy or planning. However, they are expected to have a prominent role in the production of local transport plans.

Rail, bus, and scheduled coach travel in Northern Ireland is state-owned by the government body the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company and is run under the name Translink

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