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

UK new car sales: weakest June since 1996
v5c document
News

UK new car sales: weakest June since 1996

UK new car registrations fell 24.3 per cent in June 2022 as supply issues continue
5 Jul 2022
Fuel protests hold up traffic in opposition to high prices
Traffic
News

Fuel protests hold up traffic in opposition to high prices

Rolling roadblocks cause congestion on motorways around the country as drivers protest the high cost of fuel
4 Jul 2022
Road Safety Investigations Branch announced by Department for Transport
Traffic officer Volvo XC90
News

Road Safety Investigations Branch announced by Department for Transport

A new independent body modelled on the Air, Marine and Rail Investigation Branches aims to cut UK road casualties
30 Jun 2022
Rising electricity prices to cost car brands £90m in 2022
Wind turbines
News

Rising electricity prices to cost car brands £90m in 2022

High energy prices are hurting car brands at a time when other costs are growing as a result of the switch to electric cars
28 Jun 2022

Most Popular

Range Rover vs Bentley Bentayga: 2022 twin test review
Range Rover vs Bentley Bentayga - both cars front tracking
Car group tests

Range Rover vs Bentley Bentayga: 2022 twin test review

All-new Range Rover takes on Bentley Bentayga in luxury SUV face-off
2 Jul 2022
New 2022 Range Rover Sport: pricing and engines revealed
Range Rover Sport - front
News

New 2022 Range Rover Sport: pricing and engines revealed

The third-generation Range Rover Sport has arrived to challenge the best of the sporty SUV market
5 Jul 2022
All-electric MG 4 to launch in September
MG4 - front static
News

All-electric MG 4 to launch in September

MG says the new MG 4 will be the first in a series of models using MSP architecture
4 Jul 2022