COVID-19 New State Guidance (England)

UPDATE : FAQs are here

I posted this morning that new guidance would be published at 2pm today.

This new guidance comprises –

(1) the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy (60 pages) (England) – here

(2) new guidance on staying alert and social distancing (England) – here

(3) new guidance on staying safe outside the house – here

In addition, Transport for London has issued guidance asking for everyone to wear a non-medical face covering on public transport in London for the entire journey.

The London Mayor has also issued a video on social media asking all travellers on London public transport to wear a non-medical face covering for their entire journey.

The new state guidance (England) on how to wear and make a cloth face covering is here.

This is a lot to take in, and I will issue further separate Blog posts on the matter.

Workplace Organisation and Transport guidance will be issued tomorrow, so expect further Blog posts also then.

COVID-19 England Restriction Changes (England)

Last night, the UK Prime Minister addressed the nation signalling changes to the England COVID-19 Restrictions rules and guidance.

The transcript of this address (10 May) as delivered is here.

The Scottish First Minister had earlier in the day confirmed no changes in Scotland, and this had been followed by similar announcements by the leaders of the other devolved administrations, Wales and Northern Ireland.

At 2pm today, 50 pages of detail will be published, these will relate to England. At 3.30pm the UK Prime Minister will present a Ministerial Statement of the new COVID-19 Strategy to Parliament, and a debate will follow.

Tomorrow, 11 May, will see publication of new workplace guidance (I posted about this some days ago) and also new transport guidance.

I will post again when the 50 pages of detail is published.

A few details from the 10 May address (with additions from this morning’s press and media briefings and Ministers answering questions from the public) –

(1) changes will be made to outdoor exercise and transport rules, applying from Wednesday 12 May (England)

(2) those workplaces not listed in the restrictions law that had shut anyway should reopen from Wednesday 12 May (England) (adhering to new workplace guidance issued tomorrow 11 May)

(3) new transport guidance will be issued tomorrow 11 May for workers not able to work from home

(4) new outdoor exercise rules will apply from Wednesday 12 May (England)

(5) new published COVID-19 alert message (England)

(6) new published COVID19 alert levels (England)

(7) 14-day quarantine for arrivals at ports and airports (England) (date as yet unspecified)

Truckers’ Mobility Package (EU)

Two new EU Regulations and one EU Directive are being adopted imminently.

The Market Access Regulationhere – will become applicable 18 months after the Regulation enters into force

The Market Access Regulation sets rules on transport operations carried out within a national market outside a transport operator’s own country (‘cabotage’), the current system allowing a maximum of 3 operations in 7 days will remain unchanged. To prevent systematic cabotage, a ‘cooling-off’ period of 4 days will be introduced before further cabotage operations can be carried out in the same country using the same vehicle. A member state may apply these same rules to road legs of combined transport in its territory.

The Market Access Regulation will not apply in the UK.

The Posting Directivehere – will also become applicable 18 months after the Directive enters into force

The Posting Directive clarifies rules on the posting of drivers specifically how professional drivers in goods or passenger transport will benefit from the principle of the same pay for the same work at the same place. The general rule will be that if an operation is organised in such a way that the link between the driver’s work and the country of establishment remains intact, the driver will be excluded from posting rules. This means that bilateral transport operations are explicitly excluded. On the way to the destination country and on the way back, one additional activity of loading and/or unloading goods is permitted in both directions without falling under the posting regime, or there may be zero activity on the way out and up to two activities permitted on the way back. Transit is also excluded. For all other types of operations, including cabotage, the full posting regime will apply from the first day of the operation. Similar rules will apply to the carriage of passengers, with one additional stop during bilateral operations. The posting rules will also create a unified control standard, based on a communication tool developed by the Commission, to which the transport operator can send its posting declarations directly.

The Posting Directive will not apply in the UK.

The Driving Times Regulationhere – will apply 20 days after publication, with the exception of special deadlines for tachographs

The rules on maximum work and minimum rest times for drivers will remain unchanged. However, a degree of flexibility will be introduced in the organisation of work schedules for drivers in international freight transport to enable them to spend more time at home. Drivers will also have the right to return home every three or four weeks, depending on their work schedule.

The new rules confirm that the regular weekly rest period (at least 45 hours) must be spent outside the vehicle. If this rest period is taken away from home, the accommodation must be paid for by the employer.

Although the regular weekly rest period cannot be taken in a parking area, the EU will promote the construction and use of safe and secure parking areas. The Commission will develop standards and a certification procedure for such parking areas through secondary legislation. It will also create a website to make it easier to find these areas.

The Driving Times Regulation will apply in the UK, as Retained EU Law.

The three documents are, however, linked, it is a package. Since one will apply in the UK and the others will not, we will need to wait further instruction on the detail.

For example (re linkage) – to ensure a level playing field between operators using different vehicles, rules on access to the European road haulage market, as well as driving and rest-time rules, will be extended to cover vans used in international transport (light commercial vehicles of over 2.5 tonnes), with a transition period of 21 months for market supervision, and until the middle of 2026 for tachograph and rest‑time rules.

Also (re linkage) to combat the phenomenon of ‘letterbox companies’, the new package tightens the link between the transport operator’s place of establishment and its activities. To ensure that the link is genuine, trucks in international transport will have to return to the company’s operational centre at least once every eight weeks. This eight-week period is designed to allow drivers to return home, together with the vehicle, at the end of their second four-weekly work cycle.

One key element for improving enforcement is having a reliable way to register when and where the truck has crossed a border and to localise loading and unloading activities. The second version of the smart tachograph will do all this automatically. It will be introduced in three different stages for vehicles carrying out international transport. New trucks will have to be fitted with this device in 2023; those vehicles which have an analogue or digital tachograph will have to be retrofitted by the end of 2024; and those equipped with a ‘version 1’ smart tachograph, in 2025.

To improve cross-border monitoring of compliance, the text also modernises the rules for information sharing and administrative cooperation between member states.

COVID-19 Factory & Transport Guidance (UK)

Manufacturing, factories and transport operations are not listed as restricted operations and are expected to stay open, with the workplace adjusted to ensure social distancing, and symptomatic workers sent home to recover. Some operations will also be able to be carried out via home working.

Transport workers are classed as essential workers with respect to their children attending school.

Guidance (rules) issued so far –

(1) food businesses – here

(2) Northern Ireland food and drink industry guidance – here

(3) transport – here

(4) freight transport – here

(5) marine settings of shipping and ports – here

Guidance (rules) for all employers, employees and businesses is here.

Guidance (rules) on cleaning is here.

The Health and Safety Executive also has guidance (rules) – here. (I blog posted about this yesterday)

Health and Safety Executive Northern Ireland guidance (rules) – here

Temporary Guidance re Drivers (COVID-19 UK)

UPDATE : the government instructions (dated 20 March) are here

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) bulletin service issued a notice re drivers on temporary arrangements for hours of work and access to welfare facilities – here

(1) All drivers must have access to welfare facilities in the premises they visit as part of their work.

More information is here

(2) The Department for Transport (DfT) announced a temporary and limited relaxation of the enforcement of drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland, and Wales for the drivers of vehicles involved in the delivery of:

• food

• non-food (personal care and household paper and cleaning)

• over the counter pharmaceuticals

Driver safety must not be compromised, and they should not be expected to drive whilst tired.  Employers remain responsible for the health and safety of their employees, other road users, and anyone involved in loading and unloading vehicles.

Further information is here

Freight transport COVID-19 guidance is here

Commercial Driving in the EU – further instruction (UK Brexit)

I posted recently with the UK Department for Transport (DfT) notice about International Road Haulage in the Brexit Preparedness context.

On Monday last (5th November) DfT issued its instruction on the allocation of the very limited number of ECMT permits that will be made available. Note: applications open shortly.

This ECMT permit allocation instruction and what hauliers must do next is here.

For 2019 only 984 annual permits for Euro VI emission vehicles, 2,592 monthly permits for Euro VI emission vehicles, and 240 monthly permits for Euro V or VI emission vehicles will be available. Annual permits will cover all journeys made using the permit between 1 January and 31 December 2019. Monthly permits will be valid for all journeys within 30 days of the start date listed on the permit.

Commercial Driving in the EU (UK Brexit Preparedness)

Today the UK Government published instructions on the actions commercial drivers must take (in the event of No Deal and no bilateral arrangements) in order to drive in the EU27 bloc after Brexit. This information is here.

The contents of any future EU-UK trade deal (or bilateral arrangements) may affect these instructions, so it’s essential to keep watching for updates (the information link in the first paragraph of this Blog post identifies ways to stay updated).

[A] Community licences and ECMT permits

Currently, UK lorry drivers carrying out international journeys must have a standard international operator’s licence along with a community licence for journeys to, from or through the EU and EEA.

Vehicles under 3.5 tonnes (including vans) and drivers operating on own account (carrying their own goods) do not need an international operator’s licence or Driver CPC.

ECMT permits will enable UK operators to drive in the EU and EEA (except Cyprus) if UK issued community licences are not recognised. ECMT permits are also recognised in 15 other countries.

Operators with a Northern Ireland operator’s licence will not be required to obtain an ECMT permit for a journey to the Republic of Ireland. Operators with a Great Britain operator’s licence should apply for an ECMT permit if they plan to drive in the Republic of Ireland from 29 March 2019.

Only limited numbers of ECMT permits will be available. Application will be online for ECMT permits from 26 November to 21 December 2018.

To apply for ECMT permits, a vehicle operator licence online account is required.

[B] Trailer registration (UK Brexit law)

From 28 March 2019, commercial trailers over 750kg and all trailers over 3,500kg must be registered before they can travel through countries that have ratified the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic.

This includes countries in the EU, EEA and Europe (listed in the Government Information, see link in the first paragraph of this Blog post).

Trailer registration is not required for trailers that are only used in the UK or only used for journeys between the UK and Ireland.

More details are in the Government Information, see link in the first paragraph of this Blog post).