Contingency plans to fast track cross-border permits for hauliers in the event of a hard Brexit have been put in place by the government.

The Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act, which came into force last week, gives the government the power to speed through a permit system if Brexit negotiations fail to secure reciprocal cross-border access for UK hauliers travelling to Europe.

Announcing the legislation, transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “The haulage industry is at the heart of our trading relationship with the EU and we are confident that we will reach an agreement to maintain the current liberal access that is beneficial to both sides.

“But these powers give us the flexibility to have systems in place if a permit system is required and provides reassurance for hauliers to continue planning for a smooth EU exit.”

Under the legislation, DVSA has been tasked with creating the cross-border permit administration scheme.

Meanwhile the DVLA will set up a trailer registration scheme so UK hauliers can meet any EU country’s requirements for the registration of trailers travelling on their roads following a no-deal Brexit.

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Both schemes will be open for applications later this year, according to the DfT.

Responding to news of the legislation, the RHA's policy and public affairs director Rod Mckenzie urged the government to speed up the Brexit negotiations this week.

He told MT: “We welcome any contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit but we hope there will be a deal which is good for the supply chain and ensure free flow at the UK’s ports and the Irish border, which is essential to the success of UK business going forward.

“We would urge the government to step up the pace of its negotiations and ensure a deal which will allow a frictionless border and free flowing traffic.”