“Regardless of whether the government strikes a deal with the EU or not, the legal requirements designed to promote common safety and technical principles across all EU railways will still need to be met by UK rail companies and suppliers,” RSSB states.
This means European Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs) will continue to apply during the transition period if Britain reaches a deal with the EU. If no deal is reached, TSIs will be adapted as domestic legislation, published as National Technical Specification Notices by the Secretary of State for Transport.
The RSSB says Network Rail and other main line infrastructure firms, rail freight operators, rolling stock leasing companies and suppliers should plan to continue using relevant cross-industry standards after Britain’s formal withdrawal from the EU, which is due to take place on March 29 2019.
European standards are only affected by EU membership if they are referred to in EU directives. According to RSSB, this only affects less than 20% of applicable standards. The application of European standards from CEN, CENELEC and ETSI, as well as international standards such as ISO, IEC and ITU, is unaffected by Britain’s departure from the EU.
The current government’s policy is to maintain regulatory alignment with the EU for goods, which means there is unlikely to be any short-term-divergence from EU-derived requirements such as TSIs.
“We have been working very closely with the Department for Transport over the past year to ensure that requirements derived from the EU framework are legally fit for purpose for application in Britain with workable solutions in place, even in a potential ‘no deal’ scenario,” says RSSB standards director, Mr Tom Lee. “We want to ensure that day one post-Brexit, the British standards framework is suitably aligned to the EU for immediate continuity and is legally robust, whilst providing for possible future divergence, if beneficial.”
A detailed paper on the board’s position on standards post-Brexit can be found on the RSSB website.