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What will independence mean for regulation of the road freight sector in Scotland?

The road freight sector is governed primarily through European legislation, which is aimed at ensuring the free movement of goods and fair competition across Europe. EU rules govern drivers’ hours and working time regulations; common rules on international movement of goods across member states; vehicle standards; vehicle weights and dimensions; initial driver training and drivers Certificate of Professional Competence; the operator licensing regime; health and safety requirements; and a range of regulations aimed at improving road safety including rules governing the carriage of dangerous goods.

As an independent Member State of the EU, Scotland will continue to comply with European regulations. Implementation of EU legislation into UK law (and exercise of any aspects where there is a degree of discretion) is currently a reserved matter, however, and so this responsibility would transfer to the Scottish Parliament as a result of independence. Given the extent of EU regulation, the scope for significant change to the rules is limited but the current Scottish Government plans to achieve a healthy and sustainable freight industry in Scotland that would be able to compete effectively in the European single market.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

Would relevant regulations be aligned with the rest of the UK?

Would a Scottish Government want to pursue a distinct course over time? As a member of the EU, an independent Scotland will meet its obligations under EU law with regards to the haulage industry. Regulation that is in place immediately before independence will be inherited on independence. Thereafter decisions on the regulatory framework will be made by the Parliament and government of an independent Scotland in line with Scotland’s interests and to suit Scotland’s circumstances.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.

What effect would independence have on the movement of goods by road between Scotland and the rest of the UK, and between Scotland and other countries?

Under EU regulations, all hauliers carrying out the movement of goods under ‘hire and reward’ between member states must have a standard international operator’s licence and a community authorisation licence.

In a modern global economy many companies already operate across a number of different countries without difficulty. The Scottish Government has made clear its intention to ensure an independent Scotland remains an attractive and competitive place to do business.

Source: Scotland's Future, Scottish Government, November 2013.