Implementing the UK’s exit from the European Union. Department for Transport

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details July 2018
Publication Date July 2018
Content Type

The United Kingdom's National Audit Office published in July 2018 a report which assessed how the Department of Transport was implementing its plans to support a successful exit from the EU across its 18 EU related work streams, spanning aviation, roads, maritime, vehicles, and rail.

The report set out what the Department had done to prepare for exit, and provided an assessment of whether the Department's progress was sufficient to meet the scale of the challenge.

The Department was making a determined effort to ensure the UK transport system was fully prepared for EU Exit, however the challenge ahead was complex and there was a considerable amount to achieve to ensure the best outcome for UK passengers and road users beyond March 2019.

Further information

The 18 work streams for which the Department for Transport was responsible were:

+ air traffic management systems
+ the air service agreement with the European Union (EU)
+ future access to the European Aviation Safety Agency
+ air service agreements with other countries
+ the future of security regimes
+ UK participation in the EU-wide emissions trading scheme

+ rights for UK private motorists to drive in the EU
+ rights for UK hauliers to carry goods in the EU
+ rights for UK bus and coach companies to carry passengers in the EU
+ motor insurance and frictionless travel to the Green Card free zone

+ the Marine Equipment Directive
+ future access to the European Maritime Safety Agency

+ vehicle type approval for manufacturers
+ emissions and manufacturers’ CO2 targets

+ funding for projects in the Connecting Europe Facility, an EU-funding instrument that targets infrastructure investment
+ Operation Stack, the plans to manage traffic congestion on
the M20 motorway
+ transport infrastructure at the border.

Note: The NAO had earlier issued further Briefings for other Government departments in November 2017 - January 2018:

+ Implementing the UK’s Exit from the European Union: The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, November 2017

+ Implementing the UK’s exit from the European Union. The Department for Exiting the European Union and the centre of government, November 2017

+ Implementing the UK’s exit from the European Union: Infrastructure and Projects Authority, November 2017

+ Implementing the UK’s Exit from the European Union: The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, December 2017.

+ Implementing the UK’s Exit from the European Union – People and skills: The role of the centre of government, December 2017

+ Implementing the UK’s exit from the European Union. The Department for International Trade, January 2018.


The National Audit Office in the United Kingdom scrutinises public spending for the UK Parliament and is independent of government. The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), Sir Amyas Morse KCB, is an Officer of the House of Commons and leads the NAO, which employs some 785 people. The C&AG certifies the accounts of all government departments and many other public sector bodies. He has statutory authority to examine and report to Parliament on whether departments and the bodies they fund have used their resources efficiently, effectively, and with economy. Its studies evaluate the value for money of public spending, nationally and locally. Its recommendations and reports on good practice help government improve public services. Its work led to audited savings of £734 million in 2016.

In July 2017 the Comptroller and Auditor General of the National Audit Office, Amyas Morse had given an interview to selected journalists, in which he expressed concern that the United Kingdom government had failed to take a unified approach to talks with the EU. He suggested that the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU), the Treasury and the cabinet office had so far failed to take an 'energetic' lead, leaving other departments to set their own priorities.

Morse said he had suggested to relevant ministers and officials that he would like to see a cross-departmental plan on Brexit implementation. This had not yet been forthcoming.

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Related Links
ESO: In Focus: Brexit - The United Kingdom and the European Union
BBC News, 19.07.18: Brexit: Watchdog warns of need to issue driving permits
NAO: Tag: Exiting the EU
The Guardian, 19.07.18: No plan for surge in driving permits after no-deal Brexit, say auditors

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