Transport and Automotive regulation: what’s coming up in the next 12 months

Written on 12 May 2016

New technologies and a focus on safety and passenger rights are driving a number of regulatory developments in the Transport and Automotive sector. Below are some of the regulatory developments to watch, taken from Osborne Clarke’s UK Regulatory Timeline, which also covers upcoming developments across a wide range of other sectors and regulatory regimes. Please click here for the full Timeline.

Q2 2016: review of rail regulation

Between 10 December 2015 and 15 January 2016, the DfT published a consultation inviting evidence and views on the effectiveness of the current regulatory regime for the railways.

The outcome of the consultation is expected before the end of Q2 2016 and will make recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness of the rail regulatory regime in securing a safe, effective and efficient railway, with specific reference to the role of the Office of Rail and Road.

Q3/Q4 2016: tighter rules for safer and cleaner cars

The European Commission is proposing to overhaul the current approval framework relating to the certification of vehicles and monitoring compliance with EU law. The intention is to raise the quality and independence of vehicle testing, as well as to improve the oversight of cars already purchased.

Under the current system, national authorities are responsible for checking the compliance of car manufacturers, with these checks paid for by car manufacturers. Amongst other changes, the new regime will modify this practice to avoid any such financial links. The new Regulation is currently in draft form and once adopted will repeal and replace the ‘Framework Directive’. The Commission is looking for the legislation to be finalised and adopted as soon as possible.

Q3/Q4 2016: European rail passengers’ rights

Between 9 February and 5 May 2016 the European Commission ran a consultation on the rights of rail passengers. The European Commission is examining options to better protect rail passengers in the EU. The result is likely to be a strengthened version of the existing EU Regulation (Regulation 1371/2007).

Q4 2016: Buses Bill

The new Buses Bill aims to reform local bus travel in the UK. Local authorities will be given stronger powers to impose minimum service standards as part of their partnerships with bus companies. The Bill will also enable councils to take forward TfL-style bus service franchising. In addition, it will pave the way for Oyster-style ticketing schemes across wider areas outside London.

We are expecting the Bill to go before parliament towards the end of 2016, although it is unlikely to come into effect before 2017.

Q3 2017: autonomous vehicles

A full review and amendment of the current UK regulations is expected to be completed by summer 2017, with a view to accommodating driverless vehicle technology.

The hope is that the legislative changes will mean that, at the very least, semiautonomous vehicles are properly legislated for in the UK. Thereafter, the UK government is predicting that this will link into a change in international regulations by 2018.