Rail freight wagons being loaded at a yard (Photo: Network Rail)

UK: The government has announced that European Union conformity assessment for interoperable rail products will continue to be recognised in Great Britain until December 31 2024, while the ending of recognition of EU certification of entities in charge of maintenance of wagons has been postponed until June 30 2023.

Recognition of both had been due to end on January 1 2023. The DfT Rail Interoperability Team explained that ‘due to difficult economic conditions created by post-pandemic shifts in demand and supply, alongside the war in Ukraine and the associated high energy prices, the government does not want to burden businesses with meeting the original deadline’.

Updates to EU and UK rail interoperability standards are expected to be introduced during 2023; the British update will take into account the changes being made in the EU as well as UK policy objectives. These changes will not apply in Northern Ireland.

The extension of recognition of ECM certificates issued by EU bodies until June 30 is intended to provide the rail industry with extra time to complete the process for applying for UK ECM certification from a UK body.

ECM certificates issued by UK bodies before Brexit and during the transition period will continue to be recognised in Great Britain after June 30 2023. The UK will also continue to recognise EU certificates for vehicles operating internationally, in accordance with obligations including the Convention concerning International Carriage by Rail.

Future changes will also not apply in Northern Ireland, which is covered by separate legislation.