The Road Haulage Association considers today’s announcement by Brexit secretary Dominic Raab regarding driver licensing post-Brexit to be nothing more than a smoke screen for the big-ticket items that need to be addressed before March 2019.
Commenting, RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “Six months ago, transport minister Chris Grayling assured us that there would be no border controls at Dover when he said ‘We don’t check lorries now and we’re not going to be checking them in the future’.
“Today, with just over 6 months to go until we leave the EU, Dominic Raab has said that there would be risks and short-term disruption in the event of no deal with extra border checks meaning delays for businesses. But we still have no definitive answers to our repeated questions as to how the future border controls will work?”
The Road Haulage Association recognises that a no-deal Brexit will create massive challenges for road haulage – in particular, the limited number of UK lorries allowed into the EU vice versa.
The commitment by Government to explore new bilateral permits announced last week represents progress. It is welcome to note that officials confirmed last week that EU workers in the UK now have certainty that transport manager and driver qualifications gained in the EU will be recognised by the UK (so far the EU is proposing to strip qualifications from workers employed in the EU if the qualifications come from the UK – even for those obtained during the UK membership of the EU).
“It is disappointing that the international haulage technical paper was not published today,” Richard Burnett continued. “Without clarity, any changes in supply chain operations cannot be delivered in the time left between now and next March. With so many unanswered questions, how can businesses even begin to prepare?
“All businesses in Europe deal with governments and businesses all over the world – but the changes needed to keep food in the shops and the wheels of industry turning under a no-deal Brexit are beyond the routine – we need the time to do it. Deal or no deal, a transition period is essential.”