European Commission publish new No Deal Brexit contingency plan for road transport

With Brexit negotiations drawing to an apparent end, what impact will a No Deal exit from the European Union have on the various EU regulations and directives that govern the road transport industry?  Will EU Drivers’ Hours still apply? How will this affect competition in Europe? Will the UK fall under the European Agreement Concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles Engaged in International Road Transport (AETR) rules which govern some non-EU countries?

Ever since the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016, all these questions, and more, have largely remained unanswered.  However, following a meeting in Brussels, Guy Reynolds, Aquarius IT’s Director, confirmed that the European Commission have responded with a new contingency plan in the event of a No Deal Brexit.

Until now, according to Reynolds, there has been no clear remit and no clear idea of what the ramifications of a No Deal might have. He said that this, coupled with the associated economic uncertainty that the lengthy Brexit negotiations have created, had “naturally left many operators on edge”.

Reynolds confirmed that the European Commission had published a contingency document on 19 March, which included drawing up a temporary regulation specifically with a No Deal Brexit in mind.  The premise is to clarify what rules UK operators are to work under, should the UK crash out of the EU in the coming days.

Reynolds said: “This ‘safety net’ will come into effect at the exact date and time that pre-existing EU treaties cease to apply, ensuring no break in continuity within areas such as Drivers’ Hours, Working Time, cabotage (which has seen only a minor change), application of weight and speed limits, as well as driver training requirements.

“Furthermore, the plan has been designed to ensure fair competition for UK hauliers operating in the EU and it is expected that the UK government will draw up similar plans; at least for the period during which the ‘temporary’ regulation applies.

“It also allows for the introduction of the new smart tachograph to proceed as planned, with the new tachograph units due to be fitted on all brand new vehicle registered after 15 June,” he added.

The European Commission’s contingency document will come into force in the event of a No Deal Brexit, potentially at 11pm 12 April.  In the event of No Deal happening, the document will expire on 31 December 2019 when it is hoped that the UK will have come to some specific arrangements with the EU.  If such arrangements are not agreed by the end of the year, the situation, at this time, remains unclear.

“In the meantime, if the UK leaves the EU with an agreed deal in place, the situation, whilst not without its challenges, will be more straightforward,” Reynolds said. “There are too many other scenario’s and variables beyond simply clarifying the position of No Deal, but at least this gives consistency in the coming months, if there is No Deal”.

  • Go to Aquariusit.com for further information about Aquarius IT and its its ClockWatcher Elite software platform 

7 things you need to know about the ULEZ

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At 00:01 on the 8 April 2019 London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) became operational. Commercial Motor hit the streets in a natural gas-powered Iveco to find out some of the facts about the ULEZ.

1. When does it operate?

The ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including weekends and public holidays. It was introduced on 8th April 2019.

2. Where does it cover?

The ULEZ covers 8 sq miles, in fact it’s the exact same 8 sq miles as the Congestion Charging Zone.  But in 2021 it will be expanded out to the North and South Circulars, covering 146sq miles.

3. What vehicles can I drive in the ULEZ?

The minimum standard for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes is Euro-6, with no exemptions. The ULEZ applies to specialist trucks like road sweepers, gritters, refuse vehicles, removals trucks, recovery vehicles and even fire engines.

TfL’s website advises that the scheme does allow the retrofit of emissions reduction technology, before helpfully pointing out that there currently isn’t anything available for trucks.

If you drive a car you have to abide by a different set of rules. Euro-6 is still the standard required for diesel cars, but petrol cars must only be Euro-4 compliant.

4. How much does it cost?

The daily charge for bringing a non-compliant truck into the ULEZ is £100. The penalty charge is £1,000, which reduces to £500 if paid within 14 days. Car drivers on the other hand (those that aren’t Euro-4 petrol and Euro-6 diesel) pay £12.50, with a £160 penalty charge.

You can register for Auto Pay (with a £10 admin charge per vehicle) or pay online at TfL’s website: tfl.gov.uk. There’s also a free official TfL app. Alternatively you can call 0343 222 2222 to pay by phone or pay a fine.

> Don't need to go into the ULEZ? Find out what Euro-5 truck you could own and operate instead

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5. What’s the point of the ULEZ?

The London Mayor estimates that the ULEZ will generate £174m of revenue in its first year, which after operating costs and other expenses, should boost TfL’s coffers by £127m. While this figure will decline as older vehicles are taken off the city’s streets, you can expect it to rise again two years later when the zone expands.

6. Our experience

We entered the ULEZ at 12.01am on April 8th, to find an extremely busy London. Almost all of the commercial vehicles we spot are Euro-6 compliant. During out visit we see just 9 cyclists, two of them don’t even have any lights.They’re almost as hard to spot as the ULEZ signs, which fail to stand out amongst the plethora of other warning signs that cover London’s streets.

7. What should I drive in the zone?

Any vehicle that meets the ULEZ standards is eligible to drive in the zone without a penalty, but we opted to take a CNG-powered 6.5-tonne Daily Natural Power owned by Arcese.

Not only is the Daily Natural Power we’re driving ULEZ exempt, but it emits 12% fewer NOx emissions and 76% less particulate matter than Euro-6 limits. Fill it with compressed biomethane, and the 3-litre natural gas engine produces 95% less CO2 too. It’s also 50% quieter than diesel, making it ideal for out-of-hours deliveries to residential areas.

Iveco is the UK market leader in gas vehicles, with a range extending from the 3.5-tonne Daily Natural Power to the 460hp Cursor 13-powered 6x2 Stralis NP. Last year it sold 201 gas-powered vehicles, a mix of compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquified natural gas (LNG).

The UK has one of the best gas filling networks in Europe, and it’s growing too. But operators travelling further afield shouldn’t suffer from range anxiety. With Commercial Motor’s help, last year Iveco set a new range record when one of its 5-axle artics managed to travel from London to Madrid on a single fill of LNG – that’s a staggering 1,728km.