Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Bill 2017-19 (UK)

I posted earlier about the EU Brexit Notice on haulage, which gave notice that UK vehicle registrations and driving licences would not be valid in the EU after 00:00 30 March 2019 (subject to any transition period or Trade Deal).

The UK Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Bill is a new UK Brexit Bill (not signalled in the Queens Speech) that had its First Reading in the House of Lords on 7th February 2018. The Bill is here. The Explanatory Notes are here.

The UK has now decided, irrespective, it will ratify the international 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic (which it had not ratified hitherto).

The Bill provides the UK Secretary of State with the powers to introduce administrative systems for haulage permits, which may be needed once the UK has left the EU, and a trailer registration scheme, which will be required following the UK’s ratification of the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic.

The Secretary of State will be able to make regulations prohibiting the use of a goods vehicle registered in the UK on an international journey specified in the regulations without a permit, where such permits are provided for in an international agreement. The regulations will also set out the administrative procedures for the allocation and granting of permits, including the number of permits available, the application process, the criteria to be taken into account in determining the issue of permits, and provisions for cancelling permits. Regulations will also allow the Secretary of State to establish an appeals process for the cancellation of a permit. The Bill sets out enforcement provisions, including powers for examiners to require the production of permits and offences for breaching regulations or failing to produce a permit for inspection. The Bill also includes a power to charge fees for the application for, and the issue of, a permit.

The Bill also makes provision for the Secretary of State to establish a trailer registration scheme, in view of the provisions of the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic, to ensure that trailers can be registered before entering international traffic. The scope of the scheme will be set out in regulations made under Part 2. Mandatory registration will apply only to commercial trailers (in practice almost exclusively HGV trailers) and the largest non-commercial trailers that enter international traffic. Smaller, common non-commercial trailers, such as caravans and horse trailers, may be registered by their keepers if they wish.

Again, registration is a necessary pre-cursor to travel abroad. The UK will ratify the 1968 Convention in order to support UK vehicle transport abroad. Where the outcome of negotiations with the EU mean that existing EU Licence arrangements will no longer apply after the UK’s exit from the EU, the Bill provides the Secretary of State with the powers to set up and enforce any alternative arrangements that may be agreed internationally, enabling the continued movement of goods to and from the EU by UK hauliers. A consequence of ratification is that unregistered trailers could be turned away at the borders of other countries who have ratified the 1968 Convention. Therefore, for operational reasons, a trailer registration scheme needs to be implemented.

The Bill (once enacted) will repeal the International Road Haulage Permits Act 1975 and make new provisions. It will also amend other legislation such as the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994, the Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Act 1995 and the Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001, and makes consequential amendments to legislation in Northern Ireland.

Please read the linked explanatory notes carefully. I will Blog post separately when the UK creates the Convention ratifying instrument.

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