Policy News


April 2019

Regulation on temporary no-deal Brexit transport connectivity adopted

The European Commission has adopted the final transport-related regulation required to facilitate basic cross-border connectivity between the UK and mainland Europe in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The regulation was adopted by the European Commission following an expedited passage through the European Council and European Parliament and will allow a temporary extension of authorisations for UK infrastructure and service operators to validate the certifications required to run services such as the Eurostar and Eurotunnel. The temporary authorisations remain valid as long as standards are maintained by the UK even as a third country however they will expire 9 months after the UK leaves the EU unless a withdrawal agreement has been concluded between the two.

Parliament law-makers move closer to agreement on CO2 emissions cuts for cars

A legislative proposal on reducing CO2 emissions from new cars has made further progress through the EU institutions as MEPs have tentatively agreed on targets to be included in the final regulations. The new reductions will go as far as 37.5% emissions cuts for new car fleets produced in 2030, a substantial increase on the original proposal from the Commission to cut emissions by only 30%. The legislative proposal is currently scheduled for a vote at plenary on 27 March when, if agreed, will likely come into force later in 2019.


March 2019

New road safety rules for connected and automated rules adopted

The European Commission has adopted new rules on the deployment of so-called Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) on roads across Europe. The rules mean that technology which facilitates different vehicles to ‘talk’ to each other will be rolled out across the EU in terms of the minimum technical specifications and legal requirements required by operators in different Member States. It is expected that non-EU operators will be required to conform to these rules, for example the UK even in a no-deal Brexit scenario.

Council opens negotiations with Parliament on no-deal train safety legislation

The Coreper (Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee) has agreed a position to negotiate with the European Parliament on the text of a new regulation which would facilitate the continuation of train services between the UK and the EU for a limited time period after 29 March in the case of a no-deal Brexit. The regulation would in effect allow for continued authorisations of UK-derived standards, conditions and in some cases, operators, by national authorities in other EU member states.

Parliament and Council agree on new CEF programme for 2021 onwards

Negotiators at the European Parliament have announced that they have reached an agreement with the European Council on the legislative basis for the continuation of the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility in the next budgetary period 2021-27. Whilst the full financial details remain part of the wider discussions over the size and nature of the next Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF), the Parliament has said that the next iteration of the CEF programme will invest around 60% of its funding into completing TEN-T network and 40% will go to modernising the networks.

CO2 reduction targets for HGVs on the horizon from 2030 onwards
The Council under the current Romanian Presidency has agreed with the European Parliament the text of new legislation to introduce binding CO2 emission reduction targets for heavy goods vehicles. The targets would take effect from 2030 onwards and are backed up by the threat of a financial penalty on truck manufacturers who do not comply with the rules. The text has been negotiated and agreed upon by both the Council and European Parliament but must now be adopted at a plenary meeting of the Parliament following a final endorsement from ministers.

EU flexes transport muscles to make roads safer
Having reached a provisional agreement, both the Council and the European Parliament have found common ground on a reform of the rules governing road infrastructure management across the EU. The rules include mandatory road safety assessments to be carried out by national authorities for roads which form part of the EU’s TEN-T network as well as requiring that pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users are accounted for in such assessments.

February 2019

EU funding includes provisions for ‘no deal’ Brexit
In an announcement that the Council and European Parliament have reached provisional agreement on changes to the EU Connecting Europe Facility 2014-20 programme, law-makers have agreed to put more money towards security and border check arrangements. The programme directs public and private investment into transport, energy and communications networks and a re-drawing of the map, necessitating a legislative amendment, was needed to account for the UK’s exit from the EU and to re-direct remaining funding for the 2014-20 period into maritime routes from Ireland to the European mainland. In addition to the announcement of agreement (before a formal vote) the press release also states that “investments for security and border check purposes are added to those investments that will be eligible for support in the remaining programming cycle”.

Government lays legislation to ensure basic access to EU for haulage firms post-Brexit
Ministers at the Department for Transport have laid a statutory instrument necessary to ensure basic access to EU roads for UK-based haulage firms post-Brexit in the case of no withdrawal agreement being in place. The EU has recently made adjustments to its legislation and this move would match the UK law to enable hauliers to continue making journeys across the EU to transport goods. The Government has said that this goes further than the EU’s proposal being considered by the Council and Parliament and that it hopes to convince the EU to broaden the scope of its legislation in return. At the same time the Government announcement reports that hauliers have been applying for so-called ECMT permits to allow them to operate across Europe and that decisions will be made soon on the final allocations. The number of permits available is significantly lower than the annual number of trips made by UK firm over the last few years.

Decision on rules for aerodynamic lorry cabs moves forward
The Council has reached a provisional agreement with the European Parliament on the introduction of new rules which would set a standard for the introduction of more aerodynamic lorry cabs. The agreement is set for sign-off by Member State representatives in Brussels before passing to a formal vote in the European Parliament in a future plenary session.

Definition of clean vehicles laid out in new EU procurement rules
The Council and European Parliament have reached a provisional agreement on new rules on the minimum percentages of ‘clean vehicles’ included in the total number of transport vehicles included within public sector procurement contracts. In addition the rules lay out a definition of a ‘clean vehicle’ as one which meets certain CO2 emission standards with light and heavy-duty ‘clean’ vehicles defined separately. The final text is due to be voted on formally in the next few weeks.

European ‘single maritime window’ set to become a reality
The creation of a ‘European single maritime window’ has taken one step further as the Council and European Parliament have provisionally agreed on the legislative basis for the initiative. The rules will bring together all of the various reporting requirements for ships making a call in an EU port into one ‘window’ which should simplify the compliance process for shipping and port operators alike and help to reduce the costs of business in the EU. Moreover the EU window will link individual national ‘windows’ together for the first time to make it easier to share and reuse data and ensure that data is only reported once by a ship operator within the EU.

January 2019

Government announces rail policy change from 2020
Following a recently concluded consultation on the transposition of EU legislation in the rail sector, the Government has announced that it will look to set a new direction for UK rail legislation post-Brexit from 2021 onwards. A document summarising the responses to a consultation on transposing the recently agreed EU ‘Fourth Rail Package’ directive confirms that the Government will implement this in domestic statute by the end of January 2019 but that this will include a ‘sunset clause’ causing the legislation to expire by 31 December 2020. Future legislation is expected to follow the direction laid out in the ongoing Rail Review as conducted by the Department for Transport.

EU close to amendment of rules on assessment of ship inspection organisations
EU rules on assessment of ship inspection organisations (two of which are UK-based) are set to pass their final hurdle to amendment in the next few days. Following agreement on the rules update between the European Parliament and Council just after Christmas, the ambassadors of the EU Member States have reportedly come to a final agreement on the next text. At present only the initial ‘sponsor Member State’ of a ‘ship inspection organisation’ is involved in their assessment however following Brexit the UK will no longer participate in the required processes, rendering it impossible for such organisations to legally operate. The new rules allow for other sponsors amongst the EU-27 to take the UK’s place and allow the ship inspection framework to continue to function smoothly.

UK-Swiss agreement to facilitate post-Brexit haulage into and through Switzerland
The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced the signature of an agreement with Switzerland which should allow UK hauliers and (commercial) bus drivers to continue to drive into and through Switzerland post-Brexit, irrespective of whether a withdrawal agreement is ratified through the UK parliament. More information is available on the DfT website.

December 2018

CEF legislation moves to negotiation stage with Council
MEPs have voted to approve new legislation laying out the budget, priorities and funding rules for the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) which will direct investment in to the EU’s transport, energy and telecommunication infrastructure networks. MEPs votes to provide the CEF with around €43.5 billion split roughly into €33 billion for transport, €7.5 billion for energy and €3 billion for digital infrastructure improvement projects. The legislation will now be negotiated between the Parliament and the Council. 

Advice published for hauliers on permitting post-Brexit
The Department for Transport (DfT) has published a step-by-step guide for British haulage firms to follow post-Brexit if they wish to begin or continue to operate across the EU. In light of the fact that in a no-deal Brexit scenario it is likely that the number of permits available will be severely restricted, the Government has so far not provided a long-term solution which the haulage industry has strongly welcomed.

Proposal to extend EU road safety rules takes step further
Road safety goes beyond the TEN-T network after new negotiating position adopted by the Council on a legislative proposal which will extend the scope of current EU road safety rules to motorways and other primary roads. The legislation will focus primarily on embedding practices into new road construction and management procedure which aim to take systematic account of road users other than cars such as pedestrians and cyclists. These groups alone accounted for around half of all road fatalities in the EU in 2017.

November 2018

EU moves to amend shipping regs in time for Brexit
The EU has moved swiftly to introduce adapted shipping legislation in order to facilitate the UK’s withdrawal from the EU in March 2019. The Council of the EU has announced that it will open negotiations with the European Parliament on an amendment to rules governing the assessment of ship inspection organisations, referred to as ‘recognised organisations’ in the legislation. At present two organisations established in the UK, one of which being Lloyd’s Shipping Register, will lose their ‘initial’ sponsor of the UK when it leaves the EU in 2019 and therefore are at risk of not being qualified to conduct shipping inspections under current EU rules. The legislative change, although minor, will allow for such recognised organisations to have sponsors in other EU Member States. However, as a sign of the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s exit, Lloyd’s has taken matters into its own hands and chosen to already move its sponsorship to Denmark.

Evaluation of Urban Mobility package launched
The European Commission has announced that will conduct an ex-post review of the Urban Mobility package of legislation which has been in place since 2013. Amongst the multitude of initiatives set in motion by the package, such as a framework for developing local Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans and standards for urban-derived pollution. There will be a public consultation launched in Q2 of 2019 (the summer) which will invite input from stakeholders across industry, government and public spheres.

UK government lays out plans for UK-EU haulage permitting post-Brexit
The Department for Transport (DfT) has published guidance on the structure and functioning of a new permitting system for UK-based haulage firms, post-Brexit. Following on from previously announced technical notices from the British government for stakeholders in the transport sector, the guidance confirms that hauliers will require so-called ECMT permits to continue to carry goods throughout the EU in the event of a no-deal situation post-Brexit. The document also states that any future economic partnership between the UK and EU is likely to require a permitting system to implement what will be bilateral, cross-border haulage agreements between the UK and individual EU Member States. Moreover, the guidance also notes that permits will be limited and that the DfT “…expects the number of applications for ECMT permits will exceed the number of permits available”. This suggests that the UK haulier industry will be smaller post-Brexit as supply of services may well be restricted, which could lead into higher haulage prices and knock-on impacts on the UK economy.

EU ambassadors agree new rules to ease trade of cars post-Brexit
Ambassadors representing the EU Member States have agreed in Brussels to new legislation which will enable UK manufacturers of vehicles and vehicle parts to obtain permission to export these goods into the EU market post-Brexit, on the proviso that a withdrawal agreement is successfully concluded. The agreement would see a new Regulation on EU ‘type-approvals’ brought into force before 30 March 2019 which would allow UK producers to apply to EU-27 bodies for approval or re-approval of their products which is key in allowing goods to circulate freely in the Single Market. The rule will allow producers currently holding a UK approval obtain an EU approval as long as this is applied for before 20 March 2019. See the European Partnership’s no-deal Brexit comparison table for further information on technical notices and developments made available by both the European Commission and UK government.

EU consultative body announces support for TEN-T links to circumvent the UK post-Brexit
The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has published an opinion on the recently proposed regulation from the European Commission which will amend the existing TEN-T legislative framework to take account of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. In particular the opinion supports the circumventing of the Ireland-UK-EU ‘land bridge’ in future by supporting better maritime links to and from Ireland from the European mainland. The opinion also calls on the UK parts of the TEN-T network to be removed from future iterations of the ‘TEN-T map’ given its imminent date of departure from the EU in March 2019.

October 2018

EU pushes ahead on aviation cooperation with Korea
The European Commission has concluded a ‘Horizontal Aviation Agreement’ with the Republic of Korea (South Korea) which aims to bring greater certainty to Korea’s current bilateral agreements with 22 EU Member States. Above all this means that a Korean airlines will be able to operate more freely in the EU as they will no longer be required to be owned and controlled directly by a Korean national.

EU Coordinator for Road Safety appointed
The European Commission has appointed a new Coordinator for Road Safety as part of the ‘key actions’ planned as part of the Third Mobility Package, a large package of legislative and non-legislative initiative proposed by the Commission at the start of its term. Matthew Baldwin, formerly the Deputy Director-General of the Commission’s DG for Transport & Mobility, is a British national who has been involved in transport and road-related policy since 1985. His role will be to coordinate actions on road safety amongst member states, for example on domestic road safety legislation and how this fits with EU policy in this area.

EU agency updates Brexit notice
The EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has updated its advice for stakeholders regarding Brexit and the situation following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. The EASA has already started processing applications for Third Country approvals of UK-based organisations in the aviation space who will require (re-)approval to operate in the EU post-Brexit. From 2 October the EASA has started processing applications for companies falling into one of the many categories as published on their website. See here for full details.

September 2018

EU court rules that full cost of air ticket must be reimbursed in event of cancellation
The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has ruled that when returning money for cancelled flights airline companies must reimburse the full amount of a ticket, including any portion of the price which includes commission fees applied by third party platforms. The ruling comes as a German passenger took the company Vueling to court in Hamburg for a cancelled flight to Portugal that had been bought via the website opodo.com. Vueling had originally only reimbursed €1031.88 of €1108.88 paid by the customer, the remaining €71 taken by Opodo.com as ‘commission’ from Vueling. However, the court in Luxembourg, following a referral from the Hamburg court, decided otherwise and decided that the customer was entitled to reimbursement of the full amount.

Commission opens consultation on monitoring standards for CO2 and fuel use of HGVs
In support of a legislative proposal to the European Parliament and Council, the European Commission has opened a public consultation on new technical standards to be implemented in the determination and verification of the CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of heavy-duty vehicles in future. The consultation, which is open until 11 October 2018, invites views from all stakeholders. Further information can be found on the Commission’s webpages.

Roadmap for upcoming TEN-T evaluation published
In advance of a forthcoming review of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) the European Commission has
published a roadmap document outlining key aspects of the evaluation and when and how external stakeholders can be involved. The roadmap states that a full public consultation will be opened in November to inform the evaluation as to particular criteria and aspects of the TEN-T policy should be evaluated. The document can be downloaded directly from the Commission’s webpages.

Commission steams ahead with plans to bypass UK leg for goods moving between Ireland and mainland Europe
The European Commission has published a legislative proposal to amend the TEN-T (Trans-European Transport Networks) map which forms a key part of its long-term policy to direct EU-supported investment into transport infrastructure across the bloc. The amendment comes as a direct result of the UK’s decision to withdraw its EU membership as part of the networks featured on the current map run across the UK, connecting the Republic of Ireland with mainland Europe in the so-called ‘North Sea – Mediterranean Core Network Corridor’.

The proposals suggest that the new TEN-T maps, which would be in force during the next EU budgetary period, should focus on connections between Irish ports (Dublin and Cork) and Belgian and Dutch ports (Zeebrugge, Antwerp and Rotterdam) and have caused some concern amongst French interests who fear they could miss out on future EU-sponsored investment in marine transport networks, particularly since previous versions of the map suggested that deep-water ports such as at Cherbourg would be provide the link to Ireland post-Brexit. A feedback period is now open until 26 September 2018 for further comment to the Commission on the proposed legislation.

Felixstowe maintains 6th position in rankings of UK’s busiest ports
The department for transport has published a statistical release on trends and patterns in freight traffic and handling at UK sea ports. The UK has a large shipping and trade sector and a number of ports which vary significantly in size. In 2017 a total of 470.7 million tonnes of goods passed through UK major ports, both import and export, a figure which remains broadly unchanged from 2016. However, the total tonnage handled by minor ports in the UK fell by 1% to 11.1 million tonnes from 2016-17. Felixstowe, one of the East of England’s largest ports, retained its ranking of 6th in terms of most cargo handled by British ports in 2017 with 29 million tonnes of goods passing through its yards. More information on the statistical release can be found here.

July 2018

European Parliament pushes back on changes to working conditions for lorry drivers
A series of legislative proposals on changing rules on conditions of work for lorry drivers across the EU has been delayed by the European Parliament after a plenary vote was rejected to open negotiations on the proposals with the Council of the EU. The proposals form the ‘social’ part of a major package of legislative updates to EU-wide transport rules ranging from introducing mandatory standards on CO2 monitoring for heavy goods vehicles to updates to toll-payment mechanisms for public infrastructure projects.

Following a report by the Parliament’s Transport Committee which recommended opening negotiations on the texts with the Council, an alliance of MEPs from the Green, Nordic Green Left and other left-wing fringe parties in the Parliament forced the report to a full plenary vote where it was rejected in favour of more time to lay further amendments to the legislation. Central to the concerns of MEPs are changes to rules which, they argue, could see a relaxation on the number and duration of mandatory rest periods for lorry drivers which some worry would undermine working conditions across Europe.

June 2018

Commission makes ‘no deal’ warning to air transport sector
The political magazine, Politico, has reported that the European Commission gathered EU-27 ambassadors and representatives of national civil aviation authorities during a meeting in Brussels on 12 June to warn them of the possibility of a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario. The meeting was reportedly called as the Commission did not feel that airport stakeholders in the rest of the EU were making adequate preparations for such a scenario which could see planes unable to fly to and from the UK from the EU, causing severe problems in cargo and passenger transport.

Revised rules on monitoring and reporting of CO2 emissions adopted by Council

The Council of the EU has adopted proposed rules to strengthen the EU’s legislative framework on the monitoring and reporting of CO2 emissions for heavy duty vehicles. The new regulation would introduce reporting requirements for registrants of new vehicles falling into a range of classes which are collectively referred to as ‘heavy-duty’ vehicles, for example pick-up trucks and lorries. The legislation also introduced a responsibility on the EU’s Environmental Agency to manage a database of emissions and the Commission the power to introduce administrative fines where manufacturers do not provide correct or timely information. Revised rules for European Aviation Safety Agency and on drones agreed
New rules on civil aviation safety across the EU, including a new mandate for the European Aviation Safety Agency and new rules on drones of a range of sizes and power. Following a deal reached with MEPs during a Council-Parliament inter-institutional dialogue the rules will set a minimum threshold for drone users to register their device: capability to transfer more than 80 Joules of kinetic energy on impact with a person. The regulation should be officially signed by both institutions by the end of July and would then enter into force shortly after. UK sets out vision of ‘partnership framework’ with EU on transport post-Brexit
In a ‘technical note’ the UK government has set out its desire to maintain the same levels of access and liberalisation, across the aviation and transport sectors, to the EU’s single market post-Brexit. In a series of slides the Government draws upon claims that other third countries such as Switzerland and Canada have negotiated to liberalise air transport services with the EU and suggest this could be replicated in a UK-EU agreement taking effect after Brexit, commensurate with the level of market access each side is prepared to give to its market. In the road transport sector the Government’s slides focus on the existing level of integration of the UK market with the EU, hinting at the disruption that could be caused in the absence of no agreement to continue liberalised access post-Brexit. In particular the UK states it is seeking to secure mutual recognition of regulations concerning licences, permits, registration documents and other such certificates.

Commission adopts new legislative proposal on aviation competition
The European Commission has published proposals, recently adopted, for new legislation to ‘safeguard aviation competition’ within the EU against threats of subsidisation and other unfair practices by third countries. The proposal mostly implements the Commission’s proposal to have a more robust framework setting out rules and conditions for investigating breaches of existing competition law and for moving faster to resolve these when they concern carriers based outside of the EU.

EU Urban Air Mobility initiative gains traction
The State of Geneva has committed to becoming the first city to join the EU-sponsored Urban Air Mobility (UAM) Initiative which forms part of the European Innovation Partnership in Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC). Other cities, in the EU, such as Hamburg, have announced that they will also join in 2018. The agreement was announced through the signing of a Manifesto of Intent on Urban Air Mobility by representatives from the State of Geneva, the Swiss civil aviation and sky control, the European Innovation Partnership's Action Cluster initiative in Urban Air Mobility and representatives of public and private organisations who support urban air mobility.

Department for Transport announces measures to mitigate Eurotunnel Brexit disruption
In a statement to the House of Commons, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Transport (DfT), Jesse Norman MP, has announced that DfT and Highways England are developing measures to mitigate disruption at the Eurotunnel crossing post-Brexit. In the statement the Minister explained that a contraflow scheme would be put in place on the M20 in Kent and that Highways England are developing plans to implement such an arrangement. Whilst not mentioning Brexit by name the Minister said that the scheme should be in place and available from early 2019.

Major EU study of parking areas call for participation
A major study of safe and secure parking areas across the EU has just launched, jointly managed by a consortium of consultancies on behalf of the European Commission. The study is composed of four separate studies aimed at four separate stakeholder groups: drivers, transport companies, shippers and truck parking areas/managers. The surveys can be accessed online and will inform future EU policy-making in the area of transport.

Commission publishes final part of mobility package
The European Commission’s DG MOVE (responsible for transport) has published the third and final mobility package of the ‘Europe on the Move’ high-level policy pursued by the EU. Amongst the announcements made the Commission has included a new legislative framework on road safety for 2020-30, a legislative initiative on CO2 standards for trucks and a commons methodology for fuel price comparison, a Strategic Action Plan for Batteries and further proposed legislation aimed at facilitating information exchange in the transport area in future i.e. between companies on the latest techniques and technologies.

Following the closure of the European Partnership at the end of March 2019, this website is no longer active and will not be updated. However, it will be kept live for a period of time as an archive resource.