Brexit: Helping Britain’s Railways Understand the Impact on Standards and Regulation

Following the referendum in June 2016, and the subsequent triggering of Article 50 in March 2017, the UK Government’s policy is to plan for withdrawal from the EU.

The UK will formally withdraw from the EU by 31 October 2019, although there is likely to be a period of transition in which the basis for the UK’s long-term relationships with the rest of the EU will be thought through and implemented.

This creates uncertainty in all industries and organisations, including the railways, so RSSB is working on behalf of its members to address issues of concern and get as much clarity about the impact of Brexit, and the way future arrangements for standards and regulation might work.

What are the likely impacts?

At this stage, no one can be certain exactly what impact Brexit will have.

In the short term there are not likely to be any significant changes to the requirements that stem from rail standards and regulation.

There are no plans to radically reform the existing GB rail standards regime. Indeed, it is sufficiently robust to avoid the need for substantial change in the post-Brexit world, but at the same time, flexible enough to adapt to new needs in the industry, including both deeper convergence with, or divergence from, EU standards and laws in the future.

Planning for Brexit

We’re advising our members to continue planning for a range of possible outcomes from Brexit.

It can be tempting to zone in on the nature of a possible “deal” and put too much focus on anticipating a particular upshot from the Brexit process itself.

A much more useful approach is to start with the overall strategic goals and objectives you are seeking to achieve as an organisation, and as an industry as a whole.

Then consider the impact of different scenarios that could occur from Brexit, and think about how you may need to prepare as an organisation for different outcomes.

In other words: what are your strategic goals, and how do different scenarios affect your ability to meet those goals?

Challenges

In order to prepare for the future, consider the actions you would take and the effort you would need to meet the challenges you face.

There are 6 challenges which need to be considered against the backdrop of Brexit.

These challenges will present different features depending on the nature of the post-Brexit world.

The post-Brexit regime could be:

  • Similar to the current EU based framework
  • Similar but with some differences to the current EU based framework
  • Significantly different to the current EU based framework
Brexit scenerios diagram

What we’re doing

  • We continue to monitor developments closely so we are in the best position to lead our members’ interests on standards and regulation in the post-Brexit world.
  • We are working closely with other rail industry bodies including Rail Delivery Group and Railway Industry Association to ensure our members’ voices are heard by the full range of stakeholders working on Brexit, both at UK and EU level.
  • We are also helping the Department for Transport to consider some of the risks and opportunities presented by Brexit, and build a shared understanding of how Brexit is likely to work in practice.
  • We’ll be providing regular updates to members on progress.

 

Resources

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Paper to Standards Committees - Brexit implications on RSSB function in Standards and Guidance
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Helping Britain's railways understand Brexit's impact on standards
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