House of Commons Library

Brexit and transport

Published Thursday, November 8, 2018

This paper discusses some of the pertinent issues in the four main transport policy areas: aviation, railways, roads and road-based transport, and ports and maritime. It explains what preparations are being made for exit in the form of secondary legislation and what the Government has said about the implications of a possible ‘no deal’ in the technical notices it began to publish in August 2018.

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On 23 June 2016 the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, triggered Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union on 29 March 2017 to begin the process of exit.

The UK is currently in the process of negotiating its exit from the EU, to take effect on 29 March 2019, a transition period and the shape of our future relationship with the EU. As those negotiations are ongoing, we do not yet know with any certainty what the effects of Brexit on transport policy, industry, services and operations will be.

Select committees across both Houses of Parliament have produced reports on Brexit and its potential impacts on various aspects of transport policy and have taken evidence from ministers and civil servants about how negotiations and preparations are progressing.

The UK Government’s transport priorities since the vote to leave the EU in July 2016 have been focused on air transport rights to fly, continuing membership of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), road haulage and delays at UK ports, particularly Dover. In June 2018 the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) published a framework for UK-EU partnership on transport post-Brexit. This was followed by a White Paper on the future relationship in July 2018. The White Paper sets out the UK’s broad ambitions for a Brexit deal, these are:

  • an Air Transport Agreement which seeks to maintain reciprocal liberalised aviation access between and within the territory of the UK and the EU, alongside UK participation in EASA;
  • exploring options for road transport, including reciprocal access for UK and EU road hauliers and passenger transport operators;
  • close cooperation on maritime, including with the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA); and
  • bilateral rail agreements with relevant Member States to support the continued operation of services through the Channel Tunnel and on the Belfast-Dublin Enterprise line.

This paper will be updated as more information is published, and new issues emerge.

For more briefings on Brexit, visit the House of Commons Library Brexit portal.

If you have a Parliamentary email account you can find a selection of articles and reports about Brexit and transport by following this link.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7633

Author: Louise Butcher

Topics: Aviation, EU external relations, EU law and treaties, Railways, Roads, Shipping

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