Brexit to make UK a “second-hand dealer” in car safety

Head of Global NCAP says leaving EU will turn Britain into a rule taker, not a rule maker, for car safety regulation

Crash test - Chery

One of the world’s leading car safety experts has said leaving the EU will render the UK a “second-hand dealer” in vehicle safety and emission standards.

David Ward, secretary general of the Global New Car assessment Programme (Global NCAP), has said leaving the EU will see the UK “withdrawing from a complex eco-system of vehicle regulation that has hugely improved car safety and saved tens of thousands of lives”.

Brexit offers “no advantages” to UK carmakers, say MPs

Ward - whose Global NCAP organisation promotes vehicle safety and crash-test research, and facilitates cooperation between organisations like Euro NCAP and its worldwide counterparts - wrote on his personal website that Brexit will have “profound implications for the interests of the public and our automotive industry”.

The Prime Minister has previously argued Britain’s membership of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) will allow it to continue to set vehicle safety standards post-Brexit. Ward dismisses this position as displaying “woeful ignorance” though, as EU countries block-vote during UNECE ballots on new vehicle regulations.

The UNECE supervises the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, which sets regulations for vehicle type approval. Ward points out that “54 governments are parties to an international agreement for ‘type approval’ regulations”, with 38 of them “typically” attending meetings. As 28 of these countries are members of the EU and block vote, Ward says “it is EU decision-making that underpins the adoption of UNECE regulations and not the other way around.”

While he concedes that after it leaves the EU, “the UK will be free to exercise its sovereign rights to vote as it likes on new UNECE vehicle standards”, Ward says such instances will constitute “a kind of ‘mini-decision’ to be taken alongside the ‘mega decision’ already taken by the EU.”

Ward’s comments follow warnings that EU country of origin regulations could seriously impact the UK automotive manufacturing scene post-Brexit, and echo reports that indicate the UK’s Vehicle Certification Agency will automatically lose its right to provide type approval after the country leaves the EU.

Responding to Ward’s comments, the Department for Transport told Auto Express that it is “committed to securing the best deal for Britain as we leave the European Union, and will work hard to ensure the UK motor industry and authorities continue to thrive and that Britain’s roads continue to be amongst the world’s safest.”

The DfT’s spokesperson added that they were confident the VCA “will remain one of the world’s leading type approval authorities after we leave the European Union” and that by leaving the EU Customs Union, the UK will be “able to forge new trade relationships with our partners around the world for the first time in 40 years”.

Read about the car industry’s priorities for Brexit, as laid out by the SMMT…

Recommended

Delayed trailer test law changes come into force
Mitsubishi L200 - tow
News

Delayed trailer test law changes come into force

You no longer need to take an extra test to tow a trailer, irrespective of when you passed your driving test
17 Dec 2021
Gridserve announces raft of new motorway electric car charging hubs
Gridserve Electric Forecourt 3
News

Gridserve announces raft of new motorway electric car charging hubs

Gridserve planning a total of 20 Electric Hubs and six Electric Forecourts, with 13 sites already under construction
9 Dec 2021
Stellantis plans huge revenues with new software-driven cars
Fiat 500 dash
News

Stellantis plans huge revenues with new software-driven cars

Stellantis says it’ll rake in more than €20 billion in annual revenues by 2030 thanks to its new technology and subscription services
7 Dec 2021
Company car tax guide 2021/2022: everything you need to know
Executive saloons make popular company cars
Consumer news

Company car tax guide 2021/2022: everything you need to know

Company car tax is bound up in a complex net of emissions, salaries and a car's value; we explain how the system looks for the 2021/22 Financial Year
26 Nov 2021

Most Popular

What are 4D number plates and are they legal?
Ross Hollis at perfectlyprintedplates.com
Tips & advice

What are 4D number plates and are they legal?

Everything you need to know about so-called ‘4D’ number plates, including whether you’re allowed to have them on your car
25 Jan 2022
Best electric cars to buy 2022
Best electric cars
Electric cars

Best electric cars to buy 2022

There are more electric cars than ever to choose from, so we've picked some of the best you can buy in the UK now
10 Jan 2022
New 2022 Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 hits the road for the first time
Lamborghini Countach - front
Lamborghini Countach

New 2022 Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 hits the road for the first time

Lamborghini’s reborn Countach pictured on the move ahead of it arriving with customers
25 Jan 2022