The Department for Transport (DfT) has pledged support for freight services to protect the flow of goods between the UK, mainland Europe and Northern Ireland throughout the pandemic. The DfT has also announced that thousands of volunteers, vehicles, aircraft and ships from the transport sector have been placed on standby in a new ‘Transport Support Unit’ (TSU) to assist frontline responders during the crisis across the whole of the UK.
The Department for Transport and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency joint guidance collates information for people still using transport or working in the transport sector during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It includes: using public transport; driving private vehicles including cars, vans, motorbikes; bus and lorry drivers; freight, bus and road transport businesses; transport workers; maritime and shipping; aviation and flying; and overseas travel.
General Office of Rail and Road (ORR) information on the reporting of incidents and occupational diseases pursuant to the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) focuses on supplementary details specifically in the context of COVID-19.
The introduction of pollution-busting clean air zones in several UK cities has been postponed by the coronavirus crisis, as authorities focus on combatting the outbreak. Clean air and zero-emission zones in Birmingham, Leeds, Bath and Oxford have been postponed, and a consultation on a clean air zone in Manchester has been halted.
Aerospace / Aviation
Air navigation service providers are to receive a share of £1.1 billion support package to maintain critical services as income plummets due to coronavirus. The UK’s NATS would be eligible to receive up to £92 million in support, enabling it to continue providing services, supporting cargo and repatriation flights as well as ensuring the organisation can return to full operations at the appropriate time, to help the recovery of the aviation sector.
The response to the Department for Transport consultation seeking views on legalising the aerial activities of: skytyping and skywriting. Following the consultation, the Department is progressing with: amending the Civil Aviation (Aerial Advertising) Regulations 1995 to allow the activities of skytyping and skywriting to be lawfully conducted, and updating the Air Navigation Order 2016 and other relevant regulations. The amended legislation following the consultation, in force from 8 May 2020, is:
- The Civil Aviation (Aerial Advertising) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/430) Explanatory Memorandum
Airlines will be able to temporarily defer the payment of air navigation charges in UK and European airspace for up to 14 months the Government has announced. The measure should provide financial relief to airlines struggling as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Airlines will be able to defer the payment of charges for air navigation services in UK and European airspace for the months of February-May 2020 for up to 14 months.
The House of Commons Library has published a paper which summarises the key transport issues on which the UK and the EU will seek to reach agreement over the course of 2020, as set out in their February 2020 negotiating positions.
On 26 March 2020, just as coronavirus lockdown measures were introduced in the UK, the UK Government published Decarbonising transport: setting the challenge, the beginning of a process to create a Transport Decarbonisation Plan, a document that will set out the policies and plans to tackle transport emissions, which are the largest contributor to the UK domestic greenhouse gas emissions at 28%. Lockdown and social distancing measures in the UK have meant a huge decrease in transport use, and present an ideal opportunity to reappraise 'essential' journeys and to consider how we contribute to carbon emissions and what the future of transport might look like.
Following the decision to proceed with High Speed 2 (HS2) in February 2020, HS2 Ltd has marked the next step for the project after issuing 'Notice to proceed' to the companies that will undertake construction on the UK's new railway.
A consultation has been published seeking opinions on the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail project. The call for evidence, published by the National Infrastructure Commission, is specifically seeking feedback on the creation of an integrated rail plan for the North and Midlands, with responses helping to further understand the rail requirements of these two areas. Consultation end: 29 May 2020.
In light of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the Office of Rail and Road has decided to close its market study into the UK signalling market, which had been designed for the purposes of exploring whether there were any competition issues affecting these important supply chains, and to determine if any action was needed as a result. A final report, setting out full reasons for why they had to close the study at this stage will be published in due course.
The government has signed new contracts with Southeastern and GWR to ensure vital train services continue to guarantee vital services in the short term and tangible improvements in the long term.
An update from the Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents on how the Rail Accident Investigation Branch (RAIB) is responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It clarifies that the usual investigative functions are continuing, including: deployments to site when necessary; evidence gathering; analysis and testing; and report production, consultation and publication.
The Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain have issued a document explaining the minimum standards expected for conducting remote compliance audits during the coronavirus pandemic. The temporary measures aim to improve operator safety whilst operating in compliance with public health advice.
A Department for Transport authorisation notice allows tank vehicles, which are in the scope of the Motor Vehicles (Tests) Regulations 1981 that do not require an annual roadworthiness test certificate, to remain in service on the roads of Great Britain without a valid ADR 1(C) certificate.
The UK Goverment updated its guidance to announce that the two temporary relaxations of the enforcement of the drivers' hours rules have been extended until 23:59 on Sunday 31 May.
These Regulations amend the Merchant Shipping (Tonnage) Regulations 1997 (SI 1997/1510) to implement certain provisions of the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969 in the United Kingdom. They also make consequential amendments. In force: 20 April 2020.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has published a Marine Information Note to all ship owners, ship operators and managers, masters, officers and crew. This MIN sets out the policy of the MCA with respect to UK vessels which are prevented from arranging the relevant surveys, inspections and audits required for compliance with the relevant Statutory Instruments due to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This MIN expires on 16th September 2020.
BIMCO is relaying circulars and notices on the formalities to extension and exceptions to statutory certificates for ships and seafarers, noting that seafarers should be considered as essential keyworkers in the supply chain, bringing food, medical equipment and other commodities across the world. This follows the large number of flag states and administrations taking a pragmatic approach to statutory certificates and agreements in line with IMO circular 4204.
On 30 March 2020 the International Maritime Organization issued a circular letter to governments and other relevant national authorities detailing their recommendation for the actions required in the wake of the COVID-19 epidemic. The letter, which was proposed by a broad cross-section of global industry associations representing the maritime transportation sector, requests that governments designate professional seafarers and marine personnel as "key workers" providing an essential service, regardless of their nationality.
A Maritime and Coastguard Agency publication sets out its policy with respect to UK vessels which are prevented from arranging the relevant surveys, inspections and audits required for compliance with the relevant statutory instruments due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It expires on 16 September 2020.
The UK Space Agency has launched a new drive to fund space-enabled technology and services that can strengthen the NHS response to COVID-19. An initial £2.6 million is being made available to fund a number of projects to develop hi-tech solutions to the challenges NHS England currently face, in a joint initiative with the European Space Agency.
The Department for Transport has announced that it will support the light rail systems in Sheffield, Manchester, West Midlands, Nottingham, and Tyne and Wear, and is working with local authorities to identify what support is needed to allow essential services to continue.
The Transport Secretary has announced England’s buses will continue to serve those who rely on them by way of a funding boost totalling £397 million.