A Look into ECMT Permits (European Conference of Ministers of Transport)

What follows below are two emails; the first being in relation to an application one of our clients made for an ECMT Permit, followed by our response sent to them. We present them here as a stark look into the nature & purpose of the permits. If you have concerns regarding Brexit, and it’s swiftly approaching effects on our industry, please follow this link and read it in great detail.

Please note that names have been removed to protect individuals’ privacy.


Dear Operator

Thank you for applying for a European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit.

Applications status: Unsuccessful;                                           

We received a high number of applications for the limited number of annual permits available.

Unfortunately, you have not been successful in the first round of permit allocations as your application scored lower than other applications.

What happens next?

The UK Government has secured an additional allocation of ECMT permits. Further information on how additional permits and short-term permits will be allocated will be communicated to you shortly.

Will ECMT permits be necessary to continue to drive in the EU?

The Government’s priority continues to be to secure a deal with the European Union which maintains the current, liberalised, permit-free access arrangements. Even in the event of no-deal however, we are confident that you won’t need an ECMT permit to continue operating in the EU.

There are a number of developments you should know about:

  • The European Commission has published proposals that would allow UK hauliers to continue carrying goods to and from the EU until the end of 2019 if there is no deal, without the need for an ECMT permit. These will need to be agreed by the European Council and European Parliament, and are being considered by both bodies urgently.
  • Even if this proposal is not agreed, the UK has 21 existing bilateral agreements with EU Member States which the Government considers will come back into force once the UK leaves the EU without a deal, and would ensure continued access for UK hauliers.
  • The French Government has proposed offering continued access to UK hauliers if there is no deal with the EU, and we believe other Member States are considering similar steps.
  • The Government continues to progress work on new or updated bilateral arrangements with EU Member States to ensure hauliers can continue to operate across as many countries as possible, without the need for an ECMT permit.

Given these developments, the Government is confident that you shouldn’t need an ECMT permit to continue doing a range of business in all or much of the EU, even in the event of no deal. But it is important to continue to prepare for all possible scenarios and therefore you will still be considered in the next round of allocations.

Further steps you need to take

1)      Register your trailers

Regardless of the outcome of EU negotiations, there are new requirements for the separate registration of commercial trailers from 28 March 2019. More information on how to register your trailers is available on Gov.UK.

2)      IDPs and Green Cards

You may also need an International Driving Permit (IDP) and a Motor Insurance Green Card to continue to drive in the EU in the event of no-deal.

IDPs can be obtained from the Post Office for £5.50. To obtain a Motor Insurance Green Card, contact your vehicle insurer.

Get more information and register for updates at gov.uk/euexitdriving.

International Road Haulage Permit Office
Hillcrest House | 386 Harehills Lane | Leeds | LS9 6NF
Phone: 0330 678 1117

irhp@dvsa.gov.uk


Good morning Sirs,

European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) permit

I am puzzled as to why your office is writing to holders of international operators licences, inviting them to submit an application for the ECMT. I fully understand that Brexit has led to a degree of uncertainty.

I have a client who made the application as requested, the cost to him was £20 per trailer, as he only requested two permits he was only required to pay £40. My client received an email on the 9th February informing him that his application was unsuccessful on this occasion, and I quote,“…Unfortunately, you have not been successful in the first round of permit allocations as your application scored lower than other applications”. This response implies that if he try again, at a future time then he could be successful? One would suggest that this would be at another cost of £40?

However, when one goes on to read the information contained in the email, it would appear, that if one holds an International Operators Licence, they need not worry, if they don’t have an ECMT Permit, and that the application for such a permit is considered  as a, ‘just in case’ application. It would appear that both the EU and the UK have agreed to the ongoing, and as stated in the email, and I quote, “…, a liberalised, permit-free access arrangements. Even in the event of no-deal however, we are confident that you won’t need an ECMT permit to continue operating in the EU..”. Even if this agreement is withdrawn, although I would believe that this is highly unlikely. The EU has already stated that “…. they would allow UK hauliers to continue carrying goods to and from the EU until the end of 2019 if there is no deal, without the need for an ECMT permit…”.

The email then continues to state that “…Even if this proposal is not agreed, the UK has 21 existing bilateral agreements with EU Member States which the Government considers will come back into force once the UK leaves the EU without a deal, and would ensure continued access for UK hauliers…” . In addition, “…The French Government has proposed offering continued access to UK hauliers if there is no deal with the EU, and we believe other Member States are considering similar steps…”.

Finally the email finishes off by saying, “…Given these developments, the Government is confident that you shouldn’t need an ECMT permit to continue doing a range of business in all or much of the EU, even in the event of no deal…”.

I would agree that the final sentence does suggest that companies need to be prepared for any eventuality. However, I would be of the view that in light of what has been expressed in the email from your office, the likelihood of ever needing a ECMT Permit, is so far removed that it could be considered as unnecessary. Maybe even, ‘scare mongering’.

For those operators who have been unsuccessful in obtaining the ECMT will they receive a refund? If at the end of the day, there is no need to an ECMT will those companies that have been successful be able to claim their costs back?

I truly believe that this email just typifies and exacerbates the degree of uncertainty, from certain departments within the government, that is not needed.

Yours sincerely

Graham Doughty MA AAE LCGI FIMI FCILT MCSFS MSAE MIRTE MSOE MIHE MInstLM MInstTA

TMC Assist. The Hayward Suite, Beta House, Culpeper Close, Laser Quay Business Village, Rochester, Kent ME2 4HU

Tel: 01634 731310, Fax: 01634 295593, Mobile: 07894 097945