One of the top international car safety experts recently stated that Brexit will turn Britain into a ‘second-hand dealer’ in terms of setting emission and vehicle safety standards.
The secretary general of Global NCAP (the Global New Car Assessment Programme) said exiting the EU will mean the UK is “withdrawing from a complex eco-system of vehicle regulation that has hugely improved car safety and saved tens of thousands of lives”.
Ward, whose organisation facilitates collaboration between organisations such as Euro NCAP and its international counterparts, and also promotes crash-test and vehicle safety research, warned on his personal website that Brexit is going to have “profound implications for the interests of the public and our automotive industry.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May has previously used the argument that this country’s membership of UNECE (The UN Economic Commission for Europe) will enable it to continue taking part in setting vehicle safety standards after leaving the EU.
Ward brushed aside this argument, and said it displayed ‘woeful ignorance’, since on new vehicle regulations EU countries voted as a block at UNECE ballots.
The UNECE oversees the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, which draws up regulations for the approval of vehicle types.
Ward pointed out that 54 nations formed part of a global agreement for regulating ‘type approval’. Typically only 38 of them would attend a specific meeting – and 28 of these belonged to the EU, and they voted in a block.
He added: “it is EU decision-making that underpins the adoption of UNECE regulations and not the other way around.”
Although Ward agrees that, after it exits the European Union, Britain will be able to freely use its independent status to vote as it feels right on new UNECE vehicle standards, he believes that this would be nothing more than a type of ‘mini-decision’, paling in importance against the ‘mega-decision’ already supported by the EU bloc.
His comments came after more than one expert earlier warned that EU regulations regarding country of origin might seriously impact the British car manufacturing industry in a post-Brexit Britain. His concerns also echoed earlier reports that Britain’s Vehicle Certification Agency is by default going to lose its right to approve vehicle types after the country exits the European Union.
A spokesperson for the DfT (Department for Transport) went on to say that they remained convinced that after Britain leaves the European Union, the VCA will remain one of the leading international type approval authorities, and that by exiting the EU Customs Union, the nation will be in fact be “able to forge new trade relationships with our partners around the world for the first time in 40 years”.
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