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Make post-Brexit driving permits available online – Peers

By Neil Lancefield, Press Association Transport Correspondent

An online option should be available to buy permits which may be required to drive in the European Union after Brexit, a group of peers has said.

It is "unsatisfactory" to require motorists to visit a Post Office to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP), according to a new report.

The House of Lords EU Internal Market Sub-Committee warned that the inconvenience and additional cost of the permits "should not be underestimated" as it urged the Government to make them available over the internet.

UK motorists may require the documents to drive in the EU in the event of a no-deal withdrawal from the bloc.

Committee chairman Lord Whitty said: "The mutual recognition of driving licences is a benefit of EU membership that should not be underestimated.

"Being able to freely drive in Europe is advantageous to both commercial and private drivers.

"The cost and inconvenience of a return to International Driving Permits should be avoided."

IDPs were previously available from the AA and the RAC through the post, at the AA shop at the Eurotunnel terminal in Folkestone and at 89 Post Office branches.

But since February they are only sold at 2,500 Post Office branches, around a fifth, at a cost of £5.50 each.

The AA saw a 19% increase in applications between September and December compared with the same period in 2017 and said companies with numerous drivers who travel overseas will now need to queue alongside other Post Office customers.

The requirement for UK motorists to have an IDP varies across the world and different versions of the document cover specific countries.

Previously just two types were sold in the UK, but a third is now available which will enable driving in several more EU states.

Mutual recognition of driving licences between the UK and EU may end in the event of a no-deal Brexit, meaning UK drivers may need an IDP to drive in the EU.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "Delivering the deal negotiated with the EU remains the Government's top priority and we are continuing to work closely with industry and stakeholders to ensure possible disruption to our transport sector is minimised as we exit the EU.

"A Government advertising campaign is helping people planning to travel understand which documents they need, while the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) is working closely with the Post Office to ensure sufficient stocks of International Driving Permits are available."

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