In a move that has been welcomed by the live events industry, not least tour trucking operators and live event suppliers, live music industry umbrella organisation LIVE has successfully lobbied Government to introduce an interim measure allowing touring artists, their crew and suppliers, to work freely in the UK and Europe.
Led by LIVE touring group chair Craig Stanley, the live sector has worked with the Department for Transport (DfT) to organise a temporary fix ahead of a permanent ‘dual registration’ measure that is currently going through Parliament and is expected to be passed into law this autumn.
A leading UK-based trucking operator told Access that from now on specialist event hauliers who maintain operating bases in both the EU and Great Britain, will be able to temporarily switch their vehicles to a UK operator license enabling them to conduct the UK leg of tours this summer.
Stanley said the move had huge financial implications: “I put forward a report to the DfT illustrating just how many tens of millions of Euros of business was under threat and we identified that about 110 European tours were at risk. It was the financial argument that really won it with them.
“We’ve now got a commitment, that the secretary of state for transport Grant Shapps will be putting to Parliament in the next session proposed changes to legislation to introduce dual registration. The process involves a change in law, they’ve done the public consultation and taken various other steps, so we’re hoping that it will come into force in the autumn.”
In the meantime, the temporary measure will see the office of the Traffic Commissioners, which is responsible for the licensing and regulation of heavy goods vehicle operators, manually issue operating discs for trucks that can operate under what’s called a Great British Operating license (GBO license).
It is a specific administrative arrangement which is intended for specialist events hauliers established in the EU and engaged solely in the support of multi-date tours in Britain, which are parts of wider international tours. It enables them to temporarily transfer specific non-UK registered vehicles from the company’s EU operator license to a GB one for the duration of the UK leg of the tours involved.
The measure will not benefit haulers that are solely based in the UK but will mean that the big five major tour trucking operators, who have bases in EU countries and the UK, will now be able to service European tours without being sabotaged by post-Brexit cabotage arrangements.
Cabotage has meant that registered tour vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes have been allowed just three drops in the EU before having to return to the UK, and the situation is mirrored in the UK for EU-registered trucks.
Among the operators set to benefit from the move are Transam Trucking, Edwin Shirly Trucking, KB Event, Stagetruck and Fly By Nite.
Transam/EST senior manager Ollie Kite said the measure provided a lifeline to trucking companies: “Without dual registration we would have had to move our fleet to Europe and not service the UK or keep them in UK and not service Europe.”
Conservative industry estimates suggest that the value of supplying equipment, across the production sector, to the shows that will benefit from the temporary measure is in excess of £300 million.
Dave Ridgeway MD of Neg Earth Lights, whose European tours this summer include the Rolling Stones and Guns N’Roses, said it was a major win for the live industry: “The fallout from Brexit had produced real uncertainty in the sector and meant that bands touring Europe had a lot of hurdles in place to stop them doing more than a handful of shows but this development will encourage people to do more than a couple of countries.”
Stanley said DfT officials had been very helpful and now understand more fully the sector’s problems following extensive lobbying and briefing.
A Government spokesperson said, “We are working to realise the potential benefits of post-EU freedoms, especially around cabotage.”
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