European derived railway safety legislation

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This page gives an overview of how European railway safety legislation has been retained in the UK.

When the UK left the EU following the end of the transition period on 1 January 2021, most EU legislation rolled over under the Withdrawal Agreement to become retained legislation in the UK. 

The majority of EU-derived railway safety legislation that applied in the UK while the UK was a Member State was retained and corrected when the UK left the EU to minimise interruption to rail safety-related work. 

Most of these changes were made by The Rail Safety (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 2019/837) in respect of Great Britain (with some provisions applying UK wide) and the Railways (Safety Management) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2019 (S.I. 2019/825) in respect of Northern Ireland.

For more information about the specific changes made by this legislation, please see the Department for Transport’s stakeholder guidance and ORR's document on railway safety legislation from 1 January 2021

We have a separate page on international and retained EU law which explains the background to the various EU legislative packages which have led to the current legal framework for railway health and safety in the UK. 

New EU legislation that has come into force since 1 January 2021 does not apply in Great Britain.

Background Collapse accordion Open accordion

The Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations 2006 (as amended) (S.I. 2006/599) (otherwise known as ROGS) implemented the Railway Safety Directive (2004/49/EC) (The Safety Directive) in Great Britain.
 
ROGS sets out the railway safety regulatory framework that applies in Great Britain, including the mainline railway, metros (including London Underground), tramways, light rail and heritage railways.

ROGS is domestic law and continues to apply in Great Britain following the UK’s exit from the EU, subject to amendments made by The Rail Safety (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

These amendments have not changed the substantial requirements of ROGS, but have addressed deficiencies in the legislation to make sure they operate effectively following the UK’s exit from the EU. 

It should be noted that the Technical Pillar of the Fourth Railway Package has not been implemented in Great Britain. This includes Directive (EU) 2016/797 (the Recast Safety Directive) and Directive 2016/798 (the Recast Interoperability Directive).   

Our updated Guide to ROGS details the requirements that apply in Great Britain following the UK’s exit from the EU.

Common Safety Methods (CSMs) Collapse accordion Open accordion

The Common Safety Methods (CSMs) were developed by the European Union Agency for Railways to help establish a single European rail area and market for rail transport services. 

Under ROGS, transport undertakings and infrastructure managers must comply with CSMs as part of their safety management system. 

CSMs describe how the safety levels, the achievement of safety targets, and compliance with other safety requirements should be fulfilled. 

The following CSMs were retained and corrected by the Rail Safety (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (as amended) and apply in Great Britain as of 1 January 2021:

  • CSM for conformity assessment (safety certificates) - Commission Regulation (EU) 1158/2010; 
  • CSM for conformity assessment (safety authorisations) - Commission Regulation (EU) 1169/2010;
  • CSM for supervision - Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/761;
  • CSM for monitoring - Commission Regulation (EU) No 1078/2012; and
  • CSM for risk evaluation and assessment - Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 402/2013.

The CSM for assessment of achievement of safety targets, Commission Decision 2009/460/EC, was revoked and substantially reproduced in new Schedule 11 of ROGS by the Rail Safety (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 as amended by the Railways (Safety, Access, Management and Interoperability) (Miscellaneous Amendments and Transitional Provision) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 2019/1310).

Common safety method (CSM) for risk evaluation and assessment (REA)

The common safety method (CSM) for risk evaluation and assessment applies when any technical, operational or organisational change is being proposed to the railway system.

A person making the change (known as the 'proposer') needs to firstly consider if a change has an impact on safety. If there is no impact on safety, the risk management process in the CSM REA does not need to be applied. The proposer must keep a record of how it arrived at its decision.

If the change has an impact on safety the proposer must decide whether it is significant or not by using criteria in the CSM REA. If the change is significant, the proposer must apply the risk management process. If the change is not significant, the proposer must keep adequate documentation to justify its decision. 

An assessment body must carry out an independent assessment of how the risk management process is applied and the results from the risk management process. The assessment body must meet criteria set out in Annex II of the CSM REA. This includes meeting the requirements of the ISO/IEC 17020:2012 and being accredited or recognised. 

Mainline transport operators are required to report their experience of the CSM in their annual safety report. Entities in charge of maintenance (ECMs) of freight wagons are required to report their experience of the CSM in their annual maintenance report.

We have produced guidance on the CSM REA

Legislation that applies to risk evaluation and assessment

Commission Regulation 402/2013 (the Common safety method for risk evaluation and assessment) established a common safety method for risk evaluation and assessment (CSM REA). It was amended by Commission Regulation 2015/1136 to introduce ‘harmonised design targets’. These replaced the previous ‘risk acceptance criteria’ to distinguish the acceptance of risks associated with technical systems from the acceptance of operational risks and the overall risk to the railway system. 

Commission Regulation 402/2013 became retained and corrected EU law on 1 January 2021 following the end of the transition period. This retained legislation was amended by Regulation 16 of the Rail Safety (EU Exit) (Amendment etc.) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 2019/837) and continues to apply in Great Britain. 

SI 2019/837 was itself amended by the Railways (Safety, Access, Management and Interoperability) (Miscellaneous Amendments and Transitional Provision) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 S.I. 2019/1310. As part of these amendments, ‘harmonised design targets’ became “design targets”. 

Common safety method (CSM) for conformity assessment (safety certificates) 

Commission Regulation (EU) 1158/2010 (the CSM for conformity assessment of safety certificates) came into force on 3 January 2011. It provides a common approach across the EU for the assessment of applications for safety certificates by national safety authorities. 

Commission Regulation 1158/2010 was replaced by Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/762 (establishing common safety methods on safety management system requirements pursuant to Directive (EU) 2016/798) on 16 June 2020 and will repeal Commission Regulation (EU) 1158/2010 in the EU from 16 June 2025.   

On 1 January 2021, the CSM for conformity assessment of safety certificates was retained in UK law by Regulation 12 of the Rail Safety (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 2019/837) under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. 

The CSM for conformity assessment of safety certificates therefore continues to apply in Great Britain. ORR will continue to assess applications for safety certificates against criteria set out in the CSM for conformity assessment of safety certificates, as it applies in Great Britain. 

ORR has published an assessment criteria document for applications for a mainline safety certificate which contains the provisions of the CSM. 

Common safety method (CSM) for conformity assessment (safety authorisations)

Commission Regulation (EU) 1169/2010 (the CSM for conformity assessment of safety authorisations) came into force on 3 January 2011. It provides a common approach across the EU for the assessment of applications for safety authorisations by national safety authorities. 

Regulation (EU) 1169/2010 was replaced by Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/762 (establishing common safety methods on safety management system requirements pursuant to Directive (EU) 2016/798) on 16 June 2020 and will repeal Commission Regulation (EU) 1169/2010 in the EU from 16 June 2025.  

On 1 January 2021, the CSM for conformity assessment of safety authorisations was retained and corrected in UK law by Regulation 13 of the Rail Safety (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 2019/837) under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. 

ORR has published an assessment criteria document for applications for a mainline safety authorisation which contains the provisions of the CSM. 

ORR will continue to assess applications for safety authorisations against criteria set out in the CSM for conformity assessment of safety authorisations, as it applies in Great Britain. 

Common safety method (CSM) for monitoring

Commission Regulation 1078/2012 (the CSM for monitoring) was introduced to provide a common approach for mainline transport operators and ECMs for all vehicles to control risks through their contractors. It requires them to ensure that:

  • The risk control measures implemented by their contractors are monitored using the process in the CSM; and
  • Their contractors apply the same process through contractual arrangements. 

The CSM for monitoring was amended by the Rail Safety (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 S.I. 2019/837.

Mainline transport operators are required to report their experience of using the CSM in their annual safety report. ECMs for freight wagons are required to report their experience of using the CSM for monitoring in their annual maintenance report. 

Common safety method (CSM) for supervision

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2018/761 (the CSM for supervision) sets out a CSM for supervision by safety authorities after the issue of a single safety certificate or a safety authorisation. 

On 1 January 2021, it was retained in the UK by the Rail Safety (EU Exit) (Amendment etc.) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 2019/837) and the Railways (Safety, Access, Management and Interoperability) (Miscellaneous Amendments and Transitional Provision) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 2019/1310).

Safety Certificates and Safety Authorisations Collapse accordion Open accordion

Transport operators are still required to hold valid safety certification issued by ORR to operate services on the mainline in Great Britain. 

Similarly, infrastructure managers are still required to hold a valid safety authorisation issued by ORR if they are managing infrastructure. 

ORR will continue to apply the CSMs on conformity assessment, as amended by the EU Exit Regulations, before issuing safety certificates or safety authorisations to transport operators. 

This means that the regime of Part A and Part B safety certificates continues to apply in Great Britain. Transport operators must hold an ORR-issued Part A and Part B safety certificate to operate on the mainline railway in Great Britain. This applies to all transport operators, regardless of where the operator is based. 

Please see our page on Safety certificates and safety authorisations for more information. 

A new Schedule 8 to ROGS sets out the format for safety certificates and safety authorisations issued by ORR. 

More detailed information on the effect of the EU exit amending regulations on railway regulations is contained in guidance issued by the Department for Transport: Railway safety legislation: stakeholder guidance

References to EU legislation and institutions Collapse accordion Open accordion

From 1 January 2021, the EU Technical Specifications for Interoperability (TSIs) ceased to apply in Great Britain. These have been replaced by National Technical Specification Notices (NTSNs) pursuant to Regulation 3B of the Railways (Interoperability) Regulations 2011: National Technical Specification Notices (NTSNs)

The technical content of the TSIs in force at the point of exit has been substantially reproduced in the NTSNs except where GB-specific alternatives are identified as individual cases in the relevant NTSNs. Therefore, references to the TSIs correspond to equivalent references in the NTSNs. 

As TSIs are updated in Europe, the UK has the freedom to decide whether to adopt the same requirements in Great Britain or take a different approach to align with the priorities and profile of our domestic rail network. 

Additionally, any references to EU directives, regulations and decisions that are no longer applicable in Great Britain should be read in conjunction with relevant UK regulations and associated guidance. 

The same applies to references to the European Commission (EC) or European Union Agency for Railways as they do not play any role in discharging any functions or obligations under domestic regulations.