For years lorry drivers and holidaymakers have crossed the Channel and driven on the continent with simply a valid UK driving licence and the relevant insurance. But this freedom of movement could be slightly curtailed, should Britain end up leaving the EU without a deal in March 2019.
In the event of a No Deal Brexit, driving licences issued in Britain may no longer be enough for safe and legal travel in the EU. The government has admitted that, following a No Deal, lorry drivers and holidaymakers may need to obtain an extra permit in order to drive legally in the countries they visit.
Expatriates will be affected too: those moving abroad after the deadline for a deal may not be able to simply exchange their licence as they have done previously. It’s likely that they’ll have to resit their driving test to obtain a valid licence.
In addition to a UK licence, those travelling on the continent will need an international driving permit (IDP), which costs £5.50. But one permit won’t cover you for every EU country. Those driving between France and Spain, for example, would have to obtain a separate IDP for each territory, as Spain – along with Eire, Malta and Cyprus – has not ratified the 1968 Vienna Convention.
The new IDP will be available from February 2019; currently around 1 million are issued each year to cover drivers for the 140 countries in which they are required. The National Audit Office predicts that this will rise significantly, with up to 7 million permits being issued in the first year, should Britain exit without a deal. Drivers must purchase them from post offices, as the AA will no longer be able to issue them, and anyone attempting to travel without one could face fines or be turned away by Border Control.
The good news is that one IDP could allow drivers to travel in and out of Europe for up to 12 months, so once the permit is issued, drivers will be free to make trips as often as they like within that time.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) raised further concerns that will affect lorry drivers. The organisation suggested that the issues around obtaining a permit were clouding more serious points such as how changes in supply chain operations would be handled. Chief Executive Richard Burnett argued that a multitude of unanswered questions means that businesses are struggling to prepare for the UK’s departure from the EU.
There are also concerns that vehicles made and approved in the UK may not longer be sold in the EU in the event of a No Deal Brexit. Manufacturers could instead be forced to seek approval from an EU authority in order to sell their cars.
If you’re looking to buy a used car and do some travelling before the potential restrictions fall into place, now is a great time to purchase. Pop to your local Carwise Group dealership in Dunstable, Harlow and Maidstoneto browse our selection of high-quality vehicles.