Brexit restrictions on British bands touring in EU to be eased

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he will make it easier for hauliers moving equipment between Britain and the EU.

Neil Lancefield
Friday 06 May 2022 13:13
Restrictions imposed on British musicians touring in the European Union since Brexit are to be eased (Ben Birchall/PA)
Restrictions imposed on British musicians touring in the European Union since Brexit are to be eased (Ben Birchall/PA)

Restrictions imposed on British musicians touring in the European Union due to Brexit are to be eased.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he will make it easier for hauliers to move equipment between Britain and the bloc for music concerts, and sports and cultural events.

The Cabinet minister hit out at “EU bureaucracy” which has put the sector “at risk”.

A new dual registration system will apply to drivers with an established base in Britain and a country outside the UK, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

Drivers will be able to transfer their vehicle between both operator licences without having their journeys limited or paying vehicle excise duty in Britain for up to six months per year.

The new system is expected to be introduced from late summer.

Mr Shapps said: “British talent has long been at the heart of global performing arts and our specialist haulage sector is critical to the success of their tours.

“It is unacceptable that, because of EU bureaucracy, the operations of our specialist haulage sector on which our artists rely have been put at risk, impacting the livelihoods of touring artists and sportspeople.

“Dual registration helps put this right and means that touring events can take place seamlessly across Great Britain, the EU and beyond, keeping our incredible cultural sector thriving for years to come.”

The UK’s live music sector has expressed long-running concern over the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU on overseas tours.

Since Brexit, British specialist hauliers have been limited to visiting just three stops per tour in the EU.

The dual registration system will allow drivers to avoid this restriction.

Without this initiative a large number of tours this year would simply have been unable to take place

Tarrant Anderson, Vans For Bands

Tarrant Anderson, director of transport firm Vans For Bands, said: “We are really pleased that DfT have engaged in detail with our sector on this critical issue and have come up with a solution to keep the live music touring industry moving.

“Without this initiative a large number of tours this year would simply have been unable to take place.”

Craig Stanley, touring group chairman of LIVE, a group representing the UK’s live music industry, said: “We are delighted that our close work with Government has paid off, and welcome this move which will allow European music tours to continue this summer.

“We now look forward to working with Government on options to permanently resolve this issue, such as the negotiation of an EU-wide cultural exemption.”

Dual registration will only apply to Britain as operator licensing is devolved in Northern Ireland.

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