European Commission publish new ‘no deal’ Brexit Contingency Plan for the road transport industry

With Brexit negotiations drawing to a nail-biting end, what impact will a ‘No Deal’ exit from the European Union have on the various EU regulations and directives that govern the road transport industry? Will EU Drivers’ Hours still apply? How will this affect competition in Europe? Will the UK fall under AETR rules which govern some non-EU countries?

Ever since the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016, all these questions, and more, have largely remained unanswered. However, following a meeting in Brussels last week, Guy Reynolds, Aquarius IT‘s Director, confirms that the European Commission have responded with a new contingency plan in the event of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit. Until now, much to the frustration of all those involved in the road transport industry, there has been no clear remit and no clear idea of what the ramifications of a ‘No Deal’ might have. This coupled with the associated economic uncertainty that the lengthy Brexit negotiations have created, has naturally left many transport operators on edge.

However, with Brexit negotiations now reaching boiling point, Guy confirmed that the European Commission published a contingency document on 19th March, which included drawing up a temporary regulation specifically with a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit in mind. The premise is to clarify what rules UK operators are to work under, should the UK crash out of the EU in the coming days / weeks / months. Guy explains: “This ‘safety net’ will come into effect at the exact date and time that pre-existing EU treaties cease to apply, ensuring no break in continuity within areas such as Drivers’ Hours, Working Time, cabotage, application of weight and speed limits, as well as driver training requirements. Furthermore, the plan has been designed to ensure fair competition for UK hauliers operating in the EU and vice versa; at least for the period during which the ‘temporary’ regulation applies.”

“It also allows for the introduction of the new smart tachograph to proceed as planned, with the new tachograph units due to be fitted on all brand new vehicle registered after June 15th,” added Guy. The European Commission’s contingency document will come into force in the event of a ‘No Deal’, potentially on April 12th. In the event of a ‘No Deal’ happening, the document will expire on 31st December 2019 when it is hoped that the UK will have come to some specific arrangements with the EU. If such arrangements are not agreed by the end of the year, the situation, at this time, remains unclear. “In the meantime, if the UK leaves the EU with an agreed deal in place, the situation, whilst not without its challenges, will be more straightforward,” Guy clarified. “The UK would enter a two-year transition period, allowing time for relevant legislation to be reviewed and brought under UK law.”

Aquarius IT combines its skills and extensive knowledge of road transport legislation to help operators work smartly and efficiently across all areas of compliance and driver/vehicle management through its ClockWatcher Elite software platform.

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