How will transport be affected?

The impacts of a no deal are significant and will impact every region and nation of the UK. It could cause severe disruption to the transport network and connected services within Wales.

We are taking all proportionate steps to preserve the integrity of our transport system in the face of a no deal Brexit and ensure the continued viability and success of our transportation system.


In the event of no deal, drivers from the UK will need extra documentation to drive in the EU and EEA. UK driving licences will continue to be recognised, but parties to this agreement may require holders to have an international driving permit if they are driving on the continent in future.

This includes registering certain trailers with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and carrying a trailer registration certificate.

Trailer registration on GOV.UK

In the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK drivers may also need an international driving permit (IDP) to drive in the EU and EEA.

Further information

Requirements for all UK citizens driving abroad on GOV.UK
Requirements for UK commercial drivers driving abroad on GOV.UK
Driving abroad on GOV.UK
International driving permits for UK drivers on GOV.UK
Prepare to drive in the EU after Brexit: bus and coach drivers on GOV.UK

In respect of motor insurance, EU law allows any vehicles insured in one member state to be driven in any other. However, vehicles normally based in a third country – which the UK will be after a no deal Brexit – need to have a valid "green card” to be covered. 

While the UK participates in this system, it will mean additional bureaucracy for drivers wanting to drive in and to EU, who will have to carry motor insurance green cards to prove they have valid insurance.


Ports would be particularly vulnerable in a no deal Brexit situation.

Ports in Wales make a critical contribution to our economy, not least by providing jobs and added value to our local communities. Any risk to their efficient operation poses a substantial risk for Wales as a whole. Most of the risks relate to border arrangements – to customs and safety checks. The UK government must make assurances that all steps will be taken to mitigate these risks.

We are working closely with port operators, ferry operators, local authorities and the UK government. Following these discussions, the UK government has taken the decision to make no additional checks on goods coming through roll-on roll-off ports from EU countries in a no-deal scenario in the short-term.  

The Welsh Government are working to mitigate other potential impacts on trade in Wales, including a range of options for managing potential traffic disruption involving freight vehicles at Welsh ports, particularly Holyhead as the second busiest roll-on roll-off port in the UK, after Dover. 

An assessment of the reasonable worst case scenario for Heavy Goods Vehicle delays has been prepared by the UK government, and this applies to all ferry ports across the UK. This assessment is underpinned by a number of cross-government and cross-departmental assumptions, such as the checks that might be imposed and what infrastructure could be in place.

The modelling indicates that it is likely that delayed traffic at Holyhead could be held within the confines of the port and any overflow on the A55 would be unlikely.

However, the modelling is based on a range of common assumptions about which there remain a significant number of uncertainties and which are being constantly reviewed. We are therefore developing contingency plans as part of the Holyhead Port Strategic Consultation Group which was set up last year.

Potential sites on Anglesey have been identified and assessed, including the existing Roadking truck stop facility which is geographically well-placed, has no developmental issues and has suitable infrastructure already in place. We are discussing details with Roadking.

Parc Cybi is another option – this is a Welsh Government development site and has sufficient capacity for 40 HGVs.  
As a further fall back option the A55 could be used. Across Anglesey, road works are carried out with day-time lane closures and minimal disruption. Similar measures could be used, in the unlikely event they were necessary, and to manage freight delays at the port. 

In respect of Pembroke Dock and Fishguard, Wales’ other ferry ports, analysis indicates that delayed vehicles resulting from hold-ups at Rosslare could be held and managed within the port environs and any increased congestion on public roads would not be significant. Therefore there would be no need for additional contingency arrangements. However the assumptions underpinning the analysis are again finely balanced and are being kept under constant review in order to react quickly if necessary in putting in place any additional contingency measures and support the smoothest possible flow of goods between Welsh ports and Ireland.   

Container ports, such as Cardiff, Port Talbot and Newport, are already engaged with international goods movement and are less likely to experience significant disruption. 

Further information

How to prepare if the UK leaves the EU with no deal on GOV.UK
Moving goods to and from the EU through roll on roll off ports or the Channel Tunnel on GOV.UK

Customs procedures

Customs procedures if the UK leaves the EU with no deal on GOV.UK - details of simplified customs processes for UK businesses.

Freight haulage

A no deal Brexit poses additional risks for road freight, as falling back on the international permitting system could place severe restrictions on operators moving goods across the UK-EU border as demand is likely to outstrip supply. This could have serious implications for the industry in Wales and the businesses they serve. However the EU and the UK are agreeing a temporary (9 months) suspension of the need to have a permit to enable bilateral agreements to be negotiated. Wales based hauliers will therefore be able to operate in the EU until at least next year whether or not they have permits.

Welsh Government will be working through the Freight Transport and Road Haulage Associations to ensure we understand Welsh hauliers’ concerns and needs and ways in which we can help to address them beyond this year if necessary.

Further information

Importing and exporting if the UK leaves the EU with no deal on GOV.UK
Critical goods for government-secured freight capacity on GOV.UK
Transport goods out of the UK by road if the UK leaves the EU without a deal: checklist for hauliers on GOV.UK

Air services

The EU has proposed regulations to continue existing direct flights between the EU and the UK for 12 months after exit day. However, this is a stop-gap measure and a bare-bones agreement. UK operators could lose the ability to operate flights to the EU on to another destination, whether within Europe or otherwise, and will not be able to commence new routes or increase services on existing routes.

This could have important and negative implications for business and leisure travellers from Wales and the UK regardless of where they travel from.

The airport is prepared for all eventualities, and it will continue to serve customers by offering an enjoyable, efficient customer service and diverse route network. It will continue to support airline partners, work with agencies including the Department for Transport, UK Border Force and the Welsh Government to seek out new opportunities to grow the airport business throughout this period of uncertainty.

In terms of the impact of a no deal Brexit on Cardiff Airport, there could be considerable changes to operational procedures and policies, especially the processing of passengers arriving into Wales at the UK border. These changes may result in considerable delays at passport control and impact the customer experience overall.

To mitigate this possibility the airport has worked with the Welsh Government to procure latest technology passport e-gates, which will allow faster, automated processing for passengers in possession of a biometric UK passport. This project will significantly increase resilience at the UK border.

Further information

Flights to and from the UK if there’s no Brexit deal on GOV.UK 

Transport  for Wales

In the event of a no-deal Brexit scenario, our Transport for Wales (TfW) network has plans in place to operate as normal on day one, with a number of plans already in place to minimise potential impacts. Similarly, we are working closely with other partners, such as ferry ports and other public services to ensure any potential impact is minimised as far as possible. We are participating fully in all relevant government planning and coordination activities to ensure we are fully prepared.

Like many employers, we are considering the impact on our people for a potential no-deal Brexit scenario, and whilst the vast majority of current TfW employees and supplier employees are UK residents, we are still working to reassure the employees who are not UK-based, who may be affected by potential changes.

We are working closely with our supply chain to understand the potential impact on the import of parts and particularly how this may affect the maintenance of our trains. While the majority of our current fleet originate from the UK and therefore require minimal import of parts, elements of our fleet do require parts from Europe and our preparation plans look to minimise the impact of any delay in this current process. Aside from rolling stock, some other suppliers do source from Europe and we are working to minimise the impact of changes to the import process for these smaller, yet important suppliers.

Collaboration with Ferry Operators

Transport for Wales already have arrangements in place to ensure that the impact on passengers as a result of disruption to ferry services is minimised as much as possible. If passengers miss ferry connections as a result of rail disruption, we will arrange suitable alternative arrangements, including potential overnight accommodation and appropriate welfare facilities. Where ferry disruption is notified via our established processes, we work with ferry operators to provide information to rail passengers both prior to and during rail journeys, via multiple channels, including online platforms, on train announcements and via station staff.

Where enough prior notice is provided, we will advise rail passengers not to travel, which will provide them opportunity to book alternative arrangements with the ferry operators. Where ferry crossings are disrupted and train connections are missed, we will work collaboratively with ferry operators to ensure that onward travel arrangements for which they are responsible for organising, connect with alternative rail services at locations such as Swansea and Holyhead.

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