Skip to main content

Illegal Fuel

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 4 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) whether the law applied in Northern Ireland with regard to testing for illegal fuel in vehicles is the same as that applied elsewhere in the United Kingdom; (82238)

(2) what the cost is of each operation testing for illegal fuel in cars, vans and lorries which is taking place in Northern Ireland;

(3) how many random checks for illegal fuel have taken place on roads in Northern Ireland in the last 12 months, broken down by district council area;

(4) how many (a) police and (b) customs personnel are required to be present in each road operation to test for illegal fuel in Northern Ireland;

(5) how many (a) Police Service of Northern Ireland and (b) Customs and Excise officers are required to be present when conducting a fuel testing and dipping exercise in Northern Ireland;

(6) how many vehicles were found to be using illegal fuel in each district command unit in Northern Ireland in each of the past three years; and how many prosecutions were brought in each case in each year;

(7) what the cost is of carrying out a fuel dipping exercise on a vehicle in Northern Ireland;

(8) under what legislation fuel testing and dipping in Northern Ireland takes place; and whether this legislation applies only in Northern Ireland;

(9) how many vehicles were randomly tested for illegal fuel use in each district command unit in Northern Ireland in each of the past three years.

I have been asked to reply.

The law relating to the testing of illegal fuel applies to the whole of the United Kingdom.

The number of officers present at a road checking exercise will be dependent upon the risk assessment undertaken for that exercise. There will usually be not less than two PSNI and four HMRC personnel present at a check, the precise numbers depending on the level of risk.

Each operation involving the testing of fuel in vehicles is unique in the time taken, the numbers tested and the number of personnel involved. It is not possible to estimate a cost for these operations.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs does not record the number of random checks undertaken for illegal fuel by each council area or district command unit in Northern Ireland. Nor does it have the facility to identify the numbers of vehicles that have been detected using illegal fuel in each district command unit.