Truckers rejoice as new post-Brexit deal slashes ‘unacceptable’ Brussels red tape

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Since Brexit, British specialist hauliers have been limited to just three EU stops per tour. But after late summer, they will be able to move freely between the UK, the EU and other countries, the Government has announced, thanks to a new dual registration system. Announcing the new system, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps slammed EU bureaucracy, which he claimed was putting the UK music and sports industries at risk.

He said: “British talent has long been at the heart of global performing arts and our specialist haulage sector is critical to the success of their tours.

“It is unacceptable that, because of EU bureaucracy, the operations of our specialist haulage sector on which our artists rely have been put at risk, impacting the livelihoods of touring artists and sportspeople.

“Dual registration helps put this right and means that touring events can take place seamlessly across Great Britain, the EU and beyond, keeping our incredible cultural sector thriving for years to come.”

While many industry experts have celebrated the move, some have argued that it does not benefit everyone.

Wob Roberts, production manager for Duran Duran and Sam Smith, told the BBC the new system did not help smaller UK-based operations which do not have another base overseas.

The Department of Transport said the dual registration laws will apply to haulage companies with a base in the UK and another abroad.

Mr Roberts said: “After Brexit, cabotage rules kicked in meaning UK hauliers could only make two drops, or three if they jumped through some more hoops.

“So what the bigger companies did, at great cost to themselves, was to open a new branch in Europe with European registered trucks and European licensed drivers.

“But that meant these vehicles and drivers could only make two or three drops in the UK. These new rules mean there’s no limit on drops for UK vehicles in Europe and also European registered vehicles in the UK.

“This will help UK-based tours keep going. But the problem is the smaller operations that couldn’t afford to set up a European arm are still going to be facing the same issues.”

However, others have been more positive.

Craig Stanley, touring group chairman of LIVE, a group representing the UK’s live music industry, said: “We are delighted that our close work with Government has paid off, and welcome this move which will allow European music tours to continue this summer.

“We now look forward to working with Government on options to permanently resolve this issue, such as the negotiation of an EU-wide cultural exemption.”

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Speaking to Access All Areas, Mr Stanley also emphasised the risk facing EU businesses without the dual registration system.

He said: “Tens of millions of Euros of business were under threat and we identified that about 110 European tours were at risk.”

Tarrant Anderson, director of transport firm Vans For Bands, said: “We are really pleased that DfT have engaged in detail with our sector on this critical issue and have come up with a solution to keep the live music touring industry moving.

“Without this initiative a large number of tours this year would simply have been unable to take place.”

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