The States have approved measures from Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis to extend the Vienna Convention to the Island ahead of Brexit, allowing the free movement of Jersey vehicles through Europe.
Post-Brexit, Islanders will have to prove the roadworthiness of their cars before taking them onto the continent – or risk falling foul of regulations under the 1968 Vienna Convention.
And Deputy Lewis said that Islanders might not have been able to take their cars to Europe if the States had rejected the proposals.
He said: ‘We face the very real risk of Jersey residents being unable to drive either their cars or hire vehicles in the European Union from March next year.
‘It would include the introduction of a roadworthiness inspection for Jersey vehicles. We have agreed a vehicle inspection regime which is proportionate for our requirements.’
He added that the maximum figure for vehicle testing would be £60 and this would only be required every three years.
Several Members questioned whether such legislation was necessary before the final outcomes of Brexit were known. Deputy Scott Wickenden said this was a case of ‘putting the cart before the horse’, while Deputy Kirsten Morel questioned whether the risks associated with Brexit outweighed the introduction of additional costs to Islanders.
However, Members argued that preparing for all Brexit outcomes was not something to be taken for granted, while several Members pointed to the need for regular vehicle testing as a matter of road safety.
Deputy Steve Luce said: ‘I would have thought it would be politically unacceptable to have Jersey vehicles stopped at the ramp in St Malo from next year.
‘We need to be ready for the worst-case scenario and the Vienna Convention is something we have to do.’
Meanwhile, Assistant Infrastructure Minister Hugh Raymond – a former head of the Honorary Police Association – pointed to the number of defective vehicles that were stopped during a recent police road safety campaign. He said: ‘This will contribute to the safety of the Island’s roads. It is essential for all who live here to make sure our cars are tested.’
External Relations Minister Ian Gorst added that the Island had been working hard to ensure that it was prepared for all Brexit eventualities and this proposition formed part of that. The proposals were adopted by 37 votes to eight. Senator Sarah Ferguson. Deputies Steven Ahier, Mike Higgins, Jeremy Maçon, Kirsten Morel, Kevin Pamplin, Jess Perchard and Scott Wickenden voted against the proposal.