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Jill Headford

Posted 12 July 2016
by Jill Headford

Transport after Brexit

It is important to remember that the UK stays in the European Union until Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon is triggered.

Some say a statement of an intention to leave is enough to trigger it but others say it needs an Act of Parliament. After that, the UK will have 2 years to negotiate exit terms of exit, after which it will leave the Union. Every indication at this stage is that Article 50 will not be triggered until October 2016 at the earliest meaning, for the immediate future at least, it will be business as usual for the transport industry.

Legal impact

Whilst the successful “leave” campaign highlighted that post Brexit the UK could cut much of the EU red tape, it is not anticipated that leaving the European Union will see a significant departure from EU transport rules. Many of the rules governing transport, despite originating in Europe, have been enacted through domestic legislation such as Transport Act 1958 (Drivers Hours) and The Vehicle Drivers (Certificates of Professional Competence) Regulations 2007 (Drivers CPC). Repealing these laws is unlikely to be a priority for the UK Government, particularly if they want to maintain a strong trade relationship with the EU.

Operational impact

Given the emphasis on controlling immigration from the “leave” campaign it seems unlikely that the free movement of labour between the UK and the EU member states will continue post Brexit. The UK relies heavily on the European labour market to address shortages in Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) drivers and some are anticipating a labour crisis. Some say that removing EU red tape such as Driver CPC might attract more British people to become LGV drivers however reform will require repealing UK legislation which is unlikely for the foreseeable future.

Post Brexit the UK may seek to join the European Free Trade Area which would help to mitigate the disruption caused by stricter border controls and import and export charges. Whether this is possible remains to be seen but either way stakeholders in the transport industry need to be prepared for the transit of goods and people to be a much slower and more expensive process.

For more information about how Brexit might affect:

  • Your future and existing contracts with customers and suppliers
  • Your employment obligations
  • Your operator’s licence

Please contact a member of our Tozers Transport team on 01392 207020.

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About the author

Jill Headford

Jill Headford

Partner and Solicitor

A partner in the firm since 1994 and an experienced Court and Tribunal advocate, Jill specialises in resolving disputes and is a member of the Property Litigation Association