This bill covers haulage permits and trailer registration and is aimed at giving the government powers to support UK hauliers who operate internationally after the UK leaves the EU.

The press release issued on 7 February states ‘The government has introduced legislation on cross-border haulage as the UK continues its preparations for life outside the EU. The UK’s overall aim in the negotiations with the EU is to maintain and develop the existing liberalised access for commercial haulage, as part of the wider future partnership’.

It is possible that the future deal with the EU could require a form of permitting system and the government will need to have legal frameworks in place to introduce a new administrative system if required. The Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Bill, which was introduced by Baroness Sugg in the House of Lords, gives the government this flexibility.

This is part of wider government preparations to ensure the UK can deliver a smooth and orderly Brexit, as we move from our current membership of the EU to our future partnership. This bill gives the UK the powers we need to support UK hauliers to continue operating internationally after the UK leaves the EU.

Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary said: ‘Our road haulage industry is right at the heart of the £110 billion of trade that takes place between the UK and EU every year. We believe reaching an agreement to continue the liberal access enjoyed by both sides is in everyone’s interests and remain confident we will do so. But I also understand that hauliers are planning for the years ahead and want to have certainty that any future deal can be implemented smoothly – so this Bill ensures we have plans in place if the deal requires a permitting system’.

Key elements of the bill include:
• arrangements to enable a permit scheme if required as part of a deal with the EU – ensuring UK hauliers can obtain the necessary paperwork to provide services to and from EU countries.
• the establishment of a trailer registration scheme in line with 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.

Some European countries have agreements with third countries which require a permit as a condition for hauliers to operate across borders. The bill will ensure we are prepared to manage the issuing of permits should this be needed as part of post exit arrangements.

Through a separate parliamentary process to the bill, the UK intends to ratify the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic. The convention was introduced by the United Nations to build on earlier conventions that enable international road travel and increase safety by establishing common traffic rules.

Under the convention’s terms, access to foreign roads is only guaranteed for registered motor vehicles and trailers. The bill will therefore enable the UK to introduce and enforce an international trailer registration system. Mandatory registration will apply primarily to commercial trailers travelling internationally. The UK already conforms to the majority of aspects in the convention through the Highway Code. Exemptions will be applied to some of the articles within the convention.

The above is from Department for Transport and The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP and was issued on 7th February 2018.

The RHA said ‘the Road Haulage Association welcomes Transport Secretary Chris Grayling’s acknowledgement that “Our road haulage industry is right at the heart of the £110 billion of trade that takes place between the UK and EU every year”. However, the Association has concerns regarding Government’s latest legislation on cross-border haulage as the UK continues its post-Brexit preparations. Commenting, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “While the RHA whole-heartedly supports that it is the right thing for Government to be preparing contingency measures, the free-flow of goods to the rest of Europe must be maintained. It is therefore essential that the arrangements we have at present be continued.

“The Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Bill, announced today, is an enabling Bill to instigate a contingency to cover a negotiated settlement involving permits, or the worst-case scenario – that we get no deal. “It is standard business practice to have an effective contingency plan in place if things go wrong,” Richard Burnett continued. “In this case we need to see clear Government commitment that it will seek an agreement that does not impose new permits, quotas or limits on UK international operators. “The road freight industry needs clarity as soon as possible as regards what is being negotiated.”

“The views of the RHA and the road haulage sector as a whole have been consistently clear,” Richard Burnett concluded. “We want to see a system where licensed UK and EU operators can undertake international road haulage to, from, and through the UK and EU without any additional burden or cost.”

Our thanks to the RHA (Road Haulage Association)