To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of European Conference of Ministers of Transport multilateral road haulage permits that would be available to UK hauliers if the UK became a member of the (a) European Economic Area and (b) European Free Trade Area after the UK has left the EU.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of bi-lateral international road haulage permits that would be available to UK hauliers in the event that the UK became a member of (a) the European Economic Area and (b) the European Free Trade Area after the UK leaves the EU.
The UK’s overall aim in the negotiations with the EU is to maintain and develop the existing liberalised access for commercial haulage. The current liberalised access arrangements for commercial hauliers bring in billions of pounds for both the UK and the EU. Agreeing a deal which maintains and develops these arrangements is in the interests of both parties and we are absolutely confident of doing so. The Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Bill is designed to ensure Government has in place the necessary framework and powers to deliver a permit scheme should it be required as part of an agreement with the EU.
The permitting system operated by the European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) is an international arrangement entirely separate to the EU and will not be part of our negotiations. The ECMT permits currently allocated to the UK are little used and we have no intention of relying on them after we leave the EU.
At present, the UK currently receives ECMT permits covering up to 1,224 vehicles at any time. These are allocated to operators and can be switched between different vehicles within a fleet. In 2018 only 21 ECMT permits have been issued to UK hauliers. This is because direct haulage between the UK and non-EU/EFTA ECMT countries is relatively limited, and there are also separate bilateral arrangements between the UK and non-EU/EFTA ECMT countries that can be used.
The ECMT has issued permits which allow the use of up to 44,370 vehicles for the other 42 countries within the ECMT at any time for 2018. The ECMT scheme covers all other EU countries, with the exception of Cyprus who are not members of the scheme. This number can vary depending on the type of vehicle used and whether countries have taken their full entitlement of ECMT permits. Of this total, 21,090 are currently issued to EU Member States, excluding the UK.
Road haulage between the UK and EFTA States currently operates without permits under EU regulations and agreements. The access arrangements available for the UK operators for trade with the EFTA States after the UK has left the EU will be a matter for negotiation.
The UK also has a number of bilateral haulage agreements with non-EU countries. The UK has issued around 1,400 permits to UK hauliers under these bilateral agreements since the start of 2017. While some of these arrangements require permits, several do not and any permitting requirement is subject to the nature of the arrangement reached.