POLITICS
13/09/2018 16:45 BST

No Deal Brexit Could Make It Harder For UK To Spot Things Falling From Space, Warns Government

Warnings also issued about mobile phone charges, driving licences and passports.

Erik Simonsen via Getty Images

A no deal Brexit could limit the UK’s ability to spot space debris crashing to Earth, the government has warned.

On Thursday ministers published 28 documents setting out the consequences of crashing out of the EU without a deal.

The warnings also addressed the validity of British driving licences on the continent, roaming charges for mobile phones and restrictions on travel to Europe.

As an EU member, the UK has access to the EU Space Surveillance and Tracking (EUSST) system which provides “re-entry warnings”.

But if the UK leaves without an agreement it would lose access and leave it more vulnerable to plummeting satellites and other objects, one of the papers said.

The government said Britain would however still receive some space, surveillance and tracking data from the United States.

Labour MP Jo Stevens, speaking for the pro-Remain Best for Britain campaign group, said: “Theresa May used to say Brexit wouldn’t be the end of the world - but actually it could be!”

The documents also said UK firms currently working on the EU’s Galileo satellite navigation system could be cut out of existing contracts under a no-deal Brexit.

Firms have already been warned they faced blocks to bidding for new work on the programme, a rival to the US GPS system.

One paper warned UK driving licences may no longer be valid on their own to drive in the EU.

Drivers could need International Driving Permits (IDP), at a cost of £5.50, if the EU does not agree to recognise UK licences.

And they may be turned away at borders or face enforcement action if they have not obtained the correct documents.

Another paper concluded mobile phone bills for customers living near the border in Northern Ireland could spike after the UK leaves the EU on March 29, 2019.

It warned consumers and businesses should be aware of “inadvertent” data roaming – where a stronger signal from the Republic kicks in.

Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has also urged phone companies not to impose roaming charges on British customers using their phones in EU countries after Brexit.

If no deal is reached, British passports holders have also been warned about the changes to the rules governing travel to the EU.

To travel to the Schengen area, UK passports would need at least six months validity remaining on the date of arrival.