Brexit is on a fast-track to becoming one of the nation’s greatest disasters or triumphs, depending on your viewpoint. Even now, it’s a political hot-topic that that is contentiously debated up and down the country. With the vote being so tight, whatever the outcome half the country would’ve been celebrating and the other half not.
Whatever the rights or wrongs of it, it’s here and it’s happening, being driven by a desire to be free of bureaucratic red-tape imposed on us by the EU. And yet, if we reach a ‘no deal’ on the process, we may find ourselves with yet more red-tape – the International Driving Permit being just one small element.
Currently, British residents need an International Driving Permit (IDP) if they intend to drive in certain countries such as the United Arab Emirates, it’s essentially just an official multi-language translation of your regular licence, that’s recognised throughout the 140+ countries that aren’t covered with any EU agreement, it can’t be used as a standalone licence, and will only be issued to full UK driving licence holders.
With regulations as they stand now, drivers can jump in their car and take a trip to France, Germany … anywhere in Europe, with nothing more than a tank full of fuel and a passport, but if the Government can’t reach a deal with BREXIT, drivers will need an IDP for travelling throughout Europe too.
Whilst this doesn’t sound disastrous, and at just £5.50 (currently) for twelve months, it’s not going to break the bank, but as with a number of government systems, the infrastructure behind it could fail us.
The IDP system
It’s estimated that just 100,000 International Driving Permits are issued annually at the moment, this is done through the Post Office, at the counter or by mail – there’s no online system for it. To satisfy the 100,000 demand, 89 branches of the Post Office can offer this service, that’s throughout the country.
Latest figures suggest that should we need to have an IDP to drive in Europe, it could affect around 7 million motorists.
We’re told that the Department for Transport are looking to upgrade the systems and put plans in place to handle the surge in numbers, with estimates saying that around 4,500 Post Offices could be upgraded to offer the IDP service, but as with most government announcements, no set date or figures have been issued, which could lead to a backlog or delay.
You can apply for an IDP up to three months in advance of travel, but remember that it’s also valid for twelve months, so maybe if you’re planning on taking a driving trip abroad this year, it could just be worth applying for one shortly, before the rush happens. In the event of us reaching an agreement with Brexit, and you not needing an IDP, you’ve lost £5.50, but equally, you may just save your holiday.
To apply for an International Driving Permit, you’ll need to locate your nearest branch offering the service, you’ll also need a full UK Driving Licence, £5.50, a signed passport photo and proof of identification, such as a passport.
The application process takes around 5 minutes.
Regardless of what deals are reached, you can guarantee that there will be more disturbances for the UK motorist following on from Brexit, the IDP could just be the tip of the iceberg. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) have stated that additional EU tariffs on cars could add around £2.7 billion to imports, and £1.8 billion to exports, with the import tariffs adding around £1,500 to the list price of any car imported from the continent.
Other studies have said that typically, most ‘British’ cars have around 70% of European components in them (which does include UK components) – around 1,100 lorry loads of components arrive daily from Europe, so prices could still rise regardless of agreements, but in the worst case scenario, British automotive companies could move their manufacturing facilities abroad, with Eastern Europe being favoured.
Whatever the future may hold, PetrolPrices will be the first to bring you the news regarding any impact on the motorist, hopefully an agreement will be reached that should mean we don’t suffer financially, and the Government won’t see this as a way to further stealth tax our vehicles.