Haulage and trailers act bolsters EU exit preparations

New legislation on cross-border haulage has been given royal assent marking a significant step in the UK government’s preparations for exiting the European Union, according to British international Freight Association (BIFA).

The Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act will ensure that the UK has the powers it needs to support British hauliers to continue operating internationally after exiting the EU.

As BIFA’s recent White Paper sets out, the Government’s overall aim in its negotiations with the EU is to retain reciprocal access for road hauliers. However, it is possible that the future exit deal could require a form of permitting system and the government needs to have legal frameworks in place to introduce a new administrative structure. This act provides the government with this flexibility.

“Royal assent of the Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act is a significant step in our preparations for exiting the European Union,” said Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling.

“The haulage industry is at the heart of our trading relationship with the EU and we are confident that we will reach an agreement to maintain the current liberal access that is beneficial to both sides.

“But these powers give us the flexibility to have systems in place if a permit system is required and provides reassurance for hauliers to continue planning for a smooth EU exit,” he said.

According to BIFA, the act comes as part of wider government preparations to ensure the UK can deliver a smooth and orderly EU exit.

The key elements of the act reportedly include:

Establishment of a framework for the regulation and enforcement of existing permit arrangements with non-EU countries which may be used, if necessary, to manage permits arrangement with EU, ensuring hauliers can obtain the necessary paperwork to provide services after the UK leaves the EU; the establishment of a trailer registration scheme allowing UK trailers users to meet the registration standards outlined in the 1968 Vienna Convention – this will ensure UK operators driving on the continent can comply with the requirements of those EU countries which require the registration of all trailers travelling on their roads.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is making progress in creating a permit administration scheme and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) on establishing a trailer registration scheme. It is intended that both will be open for applications later this year.

The department has also begun working with stakeholders to produce a trailer safety report. This follows extensive debate around trailer safety during Parliamentary consideration of the act. The report, scheduled to be published by July 2019, will consider whether mandatory registration and periodic roadworthiness testing should be extended to additional trailer categories.

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