06 June 2018
The Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Bill 2017-19 (the "Bill") was introduced to the House of Lords on 7 February 2018 and had its first reading in the House of Commons on 24 April 2018.
In its Explanatory Notes the government states that the majority of the UK’s international road freight is with EU countries, and accordingly the aim of the Bill is to make provision to support UK hauliers to continue to operate internationally after Brexit. The government states that it wishes to maintain and develop the existing access for commercial haulage as part of the future relationship between the UK and the EU.
The law currently provides that EU hauliers may carry goods internationally within the EU provided that they hold a Community Licence. Road haulage to or through non-EU countries largely operates through bilateral arrangements. Although we do not know what kind of arrangement the UK is going to have regarding road haulage after its withdrawal from the EU, it is anticipated that the existing EU regulations will no longer apply and so the aim of the Bill is to provide the government with the legal framework to introduce a new system if necessary. Part 1 of the Bill provides new powers to allocate permits efficiently, charge fees for permit application and issuance, and enforce against permit scheme offences.
It is the government’s intention to ratify the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic (the “Convention”) as part of its Brexit preparations in order to ensure that UK drivers will continue to be able to drive in all EU countries post-Brexit. The government states in the Explanatory Notes that, although the UK is broadly aligned with the terms of the Convention, it does not currently mandate the registration of trailers. Accordingly, the UK will be required to implement a trailer registration scheme as a result of its ratification of the Convention.
Part 2 of the Bill introduces the powers to establish a registration scheme for trailers travelling internationally. These powers include the registration of trailers (including issuing documents and administering the scheme); the issuing of registration numbers; fees to be charged for providing these services; and rules to be introduced regarding the carrying of registration documents and the formatting and placement of registration plates.
The Department for Transport opened a consultation on the provisions of the Bill on 16 May (the "Consultation"). The Consultation tests the government’s proposals for a permit scheme and trailer registration system with the aim of ensuring that any new arrangements work efficiently post-Brexit. The Consultation will close on 20 June 2018.
The effect of the Bill will depend on the outcome of the negotiations between the UK and the EU. It is considered that the Bill reflects more of a contingency arrangement in the event that no deal is agreed rather than the government’s preferred position. We will provide updates as the situation becomes clearer.
Contact: Jeremy Glen, Partner firstname.lastname@example.org T: 0141 221 8012.