What are the likely immediate impacts for RSSB managed standards?

In the short term there are not likely to be any significant changes to the way RSSB-managed standards work after Brexit—regardless of whether there is a deal or not.

You should continue to comply with Railway Group Standards, Rail Industry Standards and the Rule Book to meet legal obligations and other objectives after the UK leaves the EU.

These standards are developed collaboratively using our technical expertise and are agreed by the GB rail industry using ORR and industry-approved governance frameworks. They will continue to be a source of good requirements, guidance and rules which are beneficial for the GB mainline railway system. RSSB will continue to play a vital role in facilitating cross-industry agreement on rail-specific standards whatever happens.

What are the likely immediate impacts for EU standards?

European standards such as those produced by CEN, CENELEC (ENs) and ETSI, and international standards such as those produced by ISO, IEC and ITU, are not directly affected by EU membership, except when they are referred to in European Commission Directives, etc. This is fewer than 20% of these standards.

What happens to European Commission Directives, Decisions and Regulations such as Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs) will depend on the nature of the deal with the EU-27. 

EU directives already implemented into UK law will continue to apply in the two major areas of Interoperability (via the Rail Interoperability Regulation) and Safety (via the Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations and other related regulations). 

The EU Regulations relevant to safety (such as safety authorisations and certifications), driver licencing, vehicle registration, Common Safety Methods, etc will be reflected in or converted to domestic UK regulations. These are likely to be very similar to the current arrangements.

It is anticipated that a pragmatic solution will be proposed in terms of recognising certification work done in the EU. This is particularly so where UK and EU standards remain aligned, for example for interoperability constituents. The EU has so far stated that the reciprocal arrangement (EU recognising UK certification) will not apply. RSSB will continue to work with DfT to develop a pragmatic rail-specific transition and recognition approach to avoid (as far is possible) any unnecessary confusion, cost and bureaucracy. Previous RSSB work on the  national procedure on interoperability constituents with specific cases and other guidance on transition arrangements is likely to be used as a starting point in developing guidance in this area. 

The framework of independent conformity assessment bodies is likely to continue. UK Approved Bodies will assess conformity against NTSNs (like the NoBos for TSIs), and Designated Bodies (DeBos) will assess conformity against National Rules as is the case now.

In the event of the UK aligning completely with EU law (for example during a transition period), TSIs will still apply as before.

In the event that the UK diverges from EU law, (in the case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit or if it forms part of an agreement with the EU-27), TSIs will cease to apply and National Technical Specification Notices (NTSNs) will apply instead. 

As a result of good teamwork with DfT over the past two years, when the UK leaves the standards regime will start from a fully aligned and legally robust position.

Therefore, the key message is that immediately post Brexit the standards framework and relevant requirements will continue as they are whether derived from the EU or UK. Where there are minor variations in terminology or implementation, clear guidance and direction will be provided by RSSB, DfT or ORR as necessary.