The government has laid out what commercial drivers may need to do to continue driving in the European Union when the UK leaves the EU on March 29th 2019.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, commercial drivers will need extra documentation to drive in the EU and EEA.

As it stands, UK-based lorry drivers carrying out international journeys must have a standard international operator’s licence, as well as a community licence for journeys to, from or through the EU and European Economic Area (EEA).

Vehicles under 3.5 tonnes (including vans) and drivers operating on own account (carrying their own goods) do not need an international operator’s licence or Driver CPC.

However, if the UK leaves without a deal, EU and EEA countries may not recognise UK-issued community licences.

The government is confident that it can negotiate new or reinstate old bilateral agreements with EU countries to provide haulage access.

But as a failsafe, transport managers are being advised that they may wish to apply for ECMT international haulage permits for 2019.

These will enable UK operators to drive in the EU and EEA (except Cyprus) if UK-issued community licences are not recognised. ECMT permits are also recognised in 15 other countries.

Operators with a Northern Ireland operator’s licence will not be required to obtain an ECMT permit for a journey to the Republic of Ireland.

The number of ECMT permits issued will be limited when the application window opens between November 26th and December 21st.

Visit this link to apply for ECMT permits once you have a vehicle operator licence online account.

Image: iStock/bennymarty

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