Government Urges UK Hauliers to Prepare for a ‘No-deal’ Brexit

With only five months remaining until Brexit takes place on 29th March 2019, the UK and EU have yet to establish a proper withdrawal agreement. This leaves the possibility for a no-deal scenario to occur, forcing the UK to become a third country and lack any framework for a future relationship with the EU. And while the government has stated that a no-deal Brexit is unlikely, a recent blog post from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is urging lorry operators to be prepared.

Image illustrating a Brexit no deal
Image illustrating a Brexit no deal

In the event of a no-deal, there is a possibility that UK lorries would no longer be automatically permitted to drive within the EU. As a result, the government is encouraging lorry drivers to apply for European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permits, which allow operator licence holders to continue working in the EU after Brexit.

This permit, which drivers can apply for from Monday, 26th November to Friday, 21st December 2018, is important for lorry drivers with routines that regularly require driving to and from the EU, or for those that have plans to operate within the EU in the future. If your lorry operations only take place in the UK, there is no need to apply for the permit.

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Follow these steps to obtain an ECMT permit:

  • Get registered – Before you can apply for the ECMT permit, you must be registered on the Vehicle Operator Licensing (VOL) system. The majority of professional drivers are likely already registered on VOL. However, in the event that you aren’t, it’s crucial to complete this step as soon as possible—it takes two weeks to receive a VOL account after registering, and you have a relatively small time frame to apply for the ECMT permit.
  • Be ready to apply – As previously stated, the government will accept applications for annual ECMT permits for 2019 from Monday, 26th November through Friday, 21st December 2018. It’s critical for you to be prepared to apply during this time, as late applications will not be accepted. Although the applications page is not yet available, you can be notified as soon as the page is live by registering for alerts from the following pages:
  • Stay updated—As plans for Brexit continue to develop, stay informed and find out the latest information from the government by clicking here. For more information on preparing your ECMT permit application, use the government’s detailed guidance located here.

The DVSA stated that drivers will know whether or not their applications for the ECMT permit have been accepted in early 2019. Because there is a limited amount of permits, they will be provided based on a variety of factors, such as how often the driver will use the permit.

To be clear, the DVSA does not think a no-deal Brexit will occur, but they are urging hauliers to prepare for every possible outcome.

The content of this News Brief is of general interest and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. It does not purport to be a comprehensive analysis of all matters relevant to its subject matter. The content should not, therefore, be regarded as constituting legal advice and not be relied upon as such. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice.

Contains public sector information published by GOV.UK and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.