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newsHow road transport operators rules will change post Brexit in the event of no deal

If you work in the road transport sector, either by moving goods or passengers across Europe, or you use road transport operators as part of your business, or you train drivers of vans, HGVs, buses and minibuses, then read on.

The European Commission has issued a note to road transport operators, which outlines the rules that will apply post Brexit in the event of no deal. The notice basically specifies how certificates, licences and attestations will change for road transport operators post-Brexit in the event of no deal, and also details how access to the market for road transport operators based in the UK will change too.

Certificates, licences and attestations will change for road transport operators by the end of March 2019 in the following ways, in the event of no deal.
• Certificates of competence issued to road transport operators by the UK or a UK agency will no longer be valid in the EU-27.
• UK nationals who are drivers for a road transport company registered in the EU 27 will need to get a driver attestation, as non EU drivers are required to have them.
• As of the withdrawal date, certificates of professional competence issued by the United Kingdom or by an approved training centre in the United Kingdom for drivers of vans, HGVs, minibuses and buses will no longer be valid in the EU27.
• As of the withdrawal date, drivers of vans, HGVs, minibuses and buses, who are nationals of the United Kingdom but employed by a business established in the EU or are EU nationals resident in the United Kingdom but employed by a business established in the EU will have to follow the professional drivers training in the EU Member State where the business employing them is established.
• According to Article 2 of Directive 2006/126/EC driving licences issued by Member States of the Union are mutually recognised. As of the withdrawal date, a driving licence issued by the United Kingdom is no longer recognised by the Member States on the basis of this legislation. The recognition of driving licences issued by third countries (non-EU) is not covered by EU law provisions but instead is regulated at Member States level. In Member States which are Contracting Parties to the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic, this Convention applies.

Access to the market for road transport operators will change in the following ways by 31 March 2019, in the event of no deal.

• According to Article 3(1)(a) of Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009, undertakings engaged in the occupation of road transport operator in the Union must have an effective and stable establishment in an EU Member State. Undertakings that have their establishment in the United Kingdom will no longer fulfil this requirement.
• According to Article 4 of Regulation (EC) No 1071/2009, an undertaking which engages in the occupation of road transport operator shall designate a transport manager. In accordance with Article 4(1)(c) of that Regulation, this transport manager has to be resident in the Union. As of the withdrawal date, transport managers resident in the United Kingdom working for a Union road transport operator will no longer fulfil this requirement. Undertakings established in the Union that only have a transport manager resident in the United Kingdom can no longer engage in the occupation of road transport operator within the EU27.
• The international carriage of goods in the Union is subject to possession of a Community licence, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009. These Community licences can only be issued by the competent authorities of the EU Member State in which the haulier is established and where such haulier is entitled to carry out the international carriage of goods by road. As of the withdrawal date, a Community licence issued by the competent authorities of the United Kingdom will no longer be valid in the EU-27. Hauliers established in the United Kingdom will no longer have access to the internal road haulage market in the Union.

However, the multilateral quota system managed by the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (now International Transport Forum) would apply at that point. Hence, cross-trade operations (i.e. the carriage of goods from country A to country B by a haulier established in country C) by United Kingdom hauliers in the Union and by Union hauliers from or to the United Kingdom could be carried out under that system and within the limits thereof. That system does not permit cabotage operations, i.e. operations by foreign carriers within a single State. This means in particular that United Kingdom hauliers will no longer be able to perform cabotage operations within any of the remaining Member States.
• In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1073/2009, the international carriage of passengers by coach and bus is subject to the possession of a Community licence issued by the competent authorities of the Member State of establishment. As of the withdrawal date, Community licences issued by the United Kingdom will no longer be valid in the EU-27.
• Regular international services between Member States are subject to an authorisation in accordance with Chapter III of Regulation (EC) No 1073/2009. As of the withdrawal date, authorisations involving the United Kingdom (for pick up or set down of passengers) are no longer valid in the EU-27.

In relation to international aspects of road transport, the European Commission also states that:

“As of the withdrawal date, the United Kingdom is no longer within the scope of the Interbus Agreement on the international occasional carriage of passengers by coach and bus, the very similar ASOR Agreement of 1982, as well as the Agreement between the European Community and the Swiss Confederation on the Carriage of Goods and Passengers by Rail and Road”.


The Commission makes the point that preparing for the withdrawal of the UK from the EU is not just a matter for Union and national authorities, but also for private parties. Businesses in the road transport sector need to think about how these changes would effect their business, and consider what sort of contingency planning needs to be done in order for the business not to be damaged by these changes. Individual drivers may also need to take steps to ensure that their qualifications are going to be recognised within the EU-27 in the event of no deal, if that is necessary for their work.
Businesses active in this sector, including van, HGV, lorry, bus, and minibus operators are urged to pass on this information to other operators in their field, and to raise any concerns with the appropriate trade bodies that represent them.

The full text of the Notice to Stakeholders (which includes links to references) is available at:

pdf2017-12-11-notice-to-stakeholders-road-transport.pdf54.56 KB