Across transport, only the position with regard to the UK’s participation in EASA has been collectively agreed to date (as per MH speech). All other positions outlined below are not yet collectively agreed.

Executive Summary

The Prime Minister’s Mansion House speech set out HMG’s ambition to maintain continuity of transport services as part of a deep and comprehensive future economic relationship, noting that transport is one of several areas where the UK and EU’s economies are closely linked.

There are mutual benefits to the UK and EU of continued transport connectivity, which is essential for supporting activity across the whole economy. As the PM outlined, in negotiating our future partnership with the EU, we want to ensure the continuity of air, maritime and rail services; and we want to protect the rights of UK road hauliers to access the EU market and vice versa.


Transport is a key enabler for the economy, and the UK and EU have a strong shared interest in ensuring that transport links continue to underpin economic success, which is vital for both citizens and businesses.

The UK is setting out a bold vision of the future partnership on transport, reflecting the unique nature of EU-UK relations, including our starting point of alignment, our geographical proximity and interconnectedness, and our shared commitment to avoiding a hard border in lreland.


The UK’s ambition for transport is to maintain and develop the current levels of transport connectivity between the UK and the EU. This will underpin our future trading relationship and will ensure that people from the UK and the EU can continue to travel as seamlessly as possible whether for business, for leisure or to visit their friends and families. Citizens and businesses across Europe will expect to be able to travel as they do now and the UK will enter negotiations with this aim.

The UK sees five principal objectives that should direct the establishment of our future partnership in the area of transport:

  1. Securing continued connectivity for transport operators and users. Transport is critical in facilitating trade between the UK and EU. It provides competitive and affordable transport links which connect people, businesses and families and will form a fundamental component of the wider economic partnership. Transport links on the island of lreland will need particular consideration as they are deeply integrated, and it will be vital to maintain this connectivity, as the UK’s position paper on Northern lrerand and lreland sets out.
  2. Maintaining the safety of international transport operations. The UK and the EU both want to ensure the safety of passengers. The UK will continue to collaborate with EU and international agencies to maintain critical safety and regulatory arrangements.
  3. Seeking arrangements which maximise mutual benefits for citizens and businesses. As the Prime Minister pointed out in Florence and at Mansion House, existing models will not deliver the ambition we need. ln relation to transport, we should be seeking to continue the links our businesses and citizens enjoy presently, while seeking to improve on these.
  4. Ensuring a smooth and orderly transition to new arrangements. The UK, EU and industry need certainty, as early as possible, to provide businesses and consumers with the confidence that they can continue to travel. The Prime Minister has been clear that people, businesses and public services should only have to plan for one set of changes in the relationship between the UK and the EU. She has therefore announced that the UK will seek a time-limited implementation period of around two years to provide certainty.
  5. Strengthening our union of nations and our union of people. In line with the PM’s Mansion House speech, any arrangements should strengthen the bonds between the nations of the United Kingdom. This is particularly relevant in relation to the arrangements on the island of lreland.

The EU already has a range of agreements with the EEA countries and Switzerland which specifically cover transport and are based on ensuring businesses and passengers have the maximum freedom to operate and travel within European markets. While these alternative models provide a useful foundation, the UK intends to seek an ambitious and comprehensive agreement on transport with the EU, which maximises benefits for citizens and businesses.

This chapter outlines our objectives in the four main transport policy aviation, areas: roads and road-based public transport, rail and maritime. lt focuses on the provision of transport services, on which’citizens and business in the UK and EU alike rely.


The UK has the largest aviation network in Europe, and the third largest in the world. Over 370 international destinations had at least a weekly service from an airport in the UK in 2015. Air travel is vital for both the UK and the EU in connecting people and businesses and facilitating tourism and trade, and in 2016 million passengers travelled between the UK and other EU member states by air. ln 2016, 81 per cent of the visits by UK residents to EU countries were made by air. In that year, UK residents travelling to EU countries by air spent £21.3bn, accounting for 84 per cent of total spending by UK residents when visiting EU countries. Spain was the most popular destination for UK residents travelling by air. Over 41 million people travelled by air between Spain and the UK in 2016.

The UK’s aims for a future partnership on aviation are to preserve the connectivity, high safety standards and the efficient use of airspace that consumers benefit from today. In doing so the UK will seek to agree a comprehensive air transport agreement with the EU, to ensure cooperation across the following areas:

  1. Access to the aviation market: the UK’s aim is to ensure consumers in the UK and the EU continue to benefit from the connectivity, frequency and affordable choices they enjoy today when travelling for business or leisure. We will seek fully liberalised access for UK carriers to the common aviation area (replicating current levels of market access)- seeking to do so on the basis of committing to domestic legislation equivalent to the aviation acquis and committing to maintain that equivalence in the future. The UK will continue to follow, promote and champion international best practice in its regulatory choices, an aim we know is shared by the EU.
  2. Safety: As the PM set out in her Mansion House speech, we will explore the grounds for continued UK participation in the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The PM noted that we accept this would mean abiding by the rules of the agency and making an appropriate financial contribution. The legislation underpinning EASA creates a framework for third country participation (which has enabled Swiss participation in the Agency.) The UK’s continued participation in EASA is of high importance for our aerospace sector and for continuing to improve safety outcomes for passengers travelling across Europe. The UK wants to ensure both the aviation and aerospace sectors continue to maintain the high levels of safety that we see today. Both international standards and the work of EASA have enabled the development of consistent safety rules across Europe and the world. The UK has played an important role not only in influencing those international standards, but also in providing considerable expertise to the development of EU safety regulations.
  3. Air traffic management: the UK aims to continue close cooperation with the EU on air traffic management, through its continued membership of EUROCONTROL (a non-EU body) and through ensuring equivalent legislative commitments to the Single European Sky (SES) acquis. A significant proportion of servicer frim the UK and the EU enter into each other’s airspace. Around 80 per cent of all North Atlantic traffic passes through UK or lrish-controlled airspace. An efficient navigation system is in the interests of all airlines, whether based in the UK or in the EU.
  4. Security: we will seek mutual recognition of standards in aviation security. There are potential mutual benefits for the UK and EU from information sharing and collaboration initiatives such as the ACC3 regime for cargo security, and sharing of accident investigation data and information from the safety assessment of foreign aircraft programme.

ln addition, the future partnership on aviation should avoid the introduction of restrictions on ownership and control and ensure continued mutual recognition of relevant professional qualifications and licences. The UK has a high level of ambition for a future partnership in air transport between the UK and the EU, and in guaranteeing the connectivity citizens and businesses benefit from today. We start from an unprecedented position, with the same rules and regulations as the EU, and the EU has shown in the past that creative arrangements can be agreed in other areas.

ln addition to securing an ambitious agreement with the EU on aviation, we will seek new arrangements with third countries with which the UK is currently party to EU-level agreements on air services. These agreements include some very important markets for the UK including the US and Canada. ln 2016 North American residents travelling by air slpent f3.6 billion in the Discussions are already undenray with lneie countries to ensure a smooth and seamless transition to new arrangements after the UK leaves the EU.

Road transport

The road tran-sport sector provides a highly efficient network of connections enabling the flows of goods and people between the UK and the EU. These and lreland where citizens and businesses rely on being able to cross the border freely without the need for additional documents.

Road freight accounted for about 76 per cent of domestic freight activity in the UK in 2015. For international road freight, and around 80 per cent of the UK cross-border haulage was handled by non-UK hauliers in 2015.

The overarching objective for road transport is to maintain the safe flow of goods and people by road, including through road haulage, passenger transport and private motoring. The UK will therefore be seeking to ensure:

  1. Market access for road haulage and passenger transport operators: ensuring that UK and EU operators can continue to provide international transport services between and within the EU and UK, with the terms of that access set out as part of a wider economic partnership.
  2. Mutual recognition of driving licences and other motoring documentation for both businesses and citizens: the UK will seek mutual recognition of driving licences for both exchange and travel, as well as for other documentation, including motor insurance and certificates of professional competence. The UK will continue to maintain high standards in areas such as safety and professional competence.
  3. Road safety and enforcement: close collaboration between road transport authorities in the UK and EU in order to ensure we maintain and improve levels of road safety in both the UK and the EU. This will include access to the relevant enforcement databases, including RESPER, ERRU and TACHOnet.
  4. Continuation of links on the island of lreland: both UK and EU have have committed to ensuring the continuing functioning of cross-border links, and the Government will work in that spirit.

lnternationally, there arc a number of road transport agreements that govern travel by road for motorists, passenger service operators and hauliers, including permit-based systems for hauliers, occasional passenger transport and motorists in countries where licences are not mutually recognised. The UK is a party to a number of these agreements. However any permit-based scheme is unlikely to retain the existing benefits enjoyed by both the UK and the EU. The UK also notes that while Switzerland and the EU have concluded a unique, liberalised agreement providing for goods and passenger transport and transit by road and rail, the agreement does not allow for point to point movements within a particular territory.

These alternative models are informative but do not match the UK’s high levels of ambition for a future partnership in road transport between the UK and the EU, nor do they take into account the benefits to both sides of liberalised access. The UK is starting from a unique position of harmonised rules, which provides a strong foundation for agreeing broad, reciprocal market access.

The UK and EU will, in particular, need to ensure that the future partnership meets our shared objective in avoiding a hard border, including any physical infrastructure or related checks and controls between Northern lreland and lreland, and in supporting continued North-South cooperation under Strand 2 of the Belfast (‘Good Friday’) Agreement.


The UK is one of the European nations with the highest number of registered ships, a world-leader in maritime accident investigation, and a leading contributor to the development of international maritime regulation, it is in both the UK and the EU’s vital interest to ensure the success of our future relationship on maritime.

The UK has strong maritime transport links with the EU. For passengers travelling by sea, France is the most popular country of destination for UK international short sea routes; in 2015, 74 per cent of these journeys were between the UK and France. The second’ most popular destination was lreland, whicfr accounted for 13 per cent of all UK international short sea passengers. Maritime is also a facilitator of global trade, by weight, 95 per cent of the UK’s total imports and exports are by sea.

Maritime transport is inherently global and many rules derive from the lnternational Maritime Organisation (lMO) or the lnternational Labour organisation (lLO), particularly with regards to safety and environmental concerns’ The UK will continue to be an active member of these international organisations, working closely with EU and wider international partners. For these reasons, an agreement with the EU on market access is not essential – UK ship operators will still be able to serve EU ports largely as now without any agreement.

However, as part of our future partnership in this area, it will be necessary to consider in particular safety and environmental protection. The European Maritime safety Agency (EMSA) is an EU regulatory agency that provides an additional source of support to the Commisson and the Member states.

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