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The Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Bill [HL] is a government bill which was introduced in the House of Lords on 7 February 2018. It is due to have its second reading on 27 February 2018.

Under current EU regulations, road hauliers require a Community Licence for all operations in or through EU countries. After Brexit, UK-issued Community Licences will no longer be valid in the EU (unless agreement were reached otherwise). UK hauliers would be able to conduct some operations in the EU using permits issued under the European Conference of Transport Ministers multilateral quota scheme, but these are restricted in number and do not cover the full range of haulage operations permitted by the Community Licence. The Government aims to negotiate a deal with the EU to maintain current levels of access to the European road freight market, which might result in a new permit scheme. Part 1 of the Bill would enable the Secretary of State to make secondary legislation introducing a new international haulage permit scheme if necessary. The provisions could implement a multilateral arrangement between the UK and the EU, or bilateral arrangements between the UK and individual EU member states.

The Government is considering ratifying the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic to ensure that after Brexit the UK has a mutual legal basis for road traffic with EU countries that are not party to the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic. The Government has emphasised that if it reaches a deal with the EU that fulfils all its negotiating outcomes, ratification of the 1968 Convention may no longer be required. One consequence of ratification is that unregistered trailers could be turned away at the border of other countries that are party to the 1968 Convention (which includes the majority of EU member states). Part 2 of the Bill would therefore give the Secretary of State powers to make secondary legislation introducing a trailer registration scheme.

The Bill does not address other aspects of Brexit that may have an impact on the road haulage industry, such as future customs arrangements.

The Road Haulage Association and the Freight Transport Association have both welcomed the Bill as a contingency measure, whilst expressing hopes that the Government will secure a deal with the EU to ensure no limits are set on UK hauliers conducting operations in the EU.

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