The UK will create its own rail standards following a no-deal Brexit, it has been revealed.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has published technical notices for the rail industry outlining practises going forward in the ‘‘unlikely’’ event of a no-deal Brexit scenario.
According to the notices, a no-deal Brexit will have little impact on the domestic rail industry, as the DfT will be able to set its own standards.
The DfT also confirmed that rail operators will have two years to update EU licences and certificates governing safety and maintenance certificates, train driving licenses and vehicle authorisations. Holders of these licences and certificates will be required to apply for new ones under British Law after the two years.
Meanwhile, the UK will have the power to ‘‘align with or diverge from” the Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs) – the technical specifications to ensure interoperability of the trans-European rail system. To ensure this flexibility however, will mean that Britain cannot seek a formal partnership or participation in the European Union Agency for Railways (EUAR). However the DfT does encourage ongoing co-operation with the EUAR, even if the UK does not have a formal agreement in place.
Railway Industry Association technical director David Clarke said that the decision to remain flexible on TSIs was important in ensuring the UK remains able to supply rail products to the EU.
“It is positive the Notices state the UK will only diverge from TSIs where there are clear benefits for doing so and will fully engage with the industry to assess the impact of any changes,” said Clarke. “It is vital that the government commits to full alignment with the TSIs unless there are isolated cases for divergence that do not impact the specifications of the wider rail network.
“Should there be a ‘no deal’ scenario, it will also be crucial for the government to negotiate for the mutual recognition between UK and EU standards so that UK rail supply chain products can continue to be exported to EU countries for use without modification, thereby avoiding unnecessary cost increases and retaining economies of scale and competitiveness.”
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