Legal framework, responsabilities and resources

Legal framework, responsabilities and resources

The EPSF is the French national safety authority (NSA) within the meaning of European Directive (EU) 2016/798(1). It was established as a public administration institution (EPA) under French Law 2006-10 of 5 January 2006.

Its mandate and operations are specified in Decree 2006-369 of 28 March 2006 and fall within the scope of Decree 2019-525 of 27 May 2019(2) on rail traffic safety and rail system interoperability transposing European directives in the domain into French national law.

(1) Directive repealing Directive 2004/49/EC of 29 April 2004 on 20 June 2020 
(2) Decree repealing Decrees 2006-1279 and 2017-674, among others

Its head office is located in Amiens (France). 

The EPSF ensures that regulations on rail transport safety and interoperability are complied with within the French national rail system.

In this capacity, its main activities involve:

  • issuing the authorisations required to perform railway operations in France on the basis of division of tasks between the EPSF and the European Union Agency for Railways as set out in the texts of the Fourth Railway Package;
  • monitoring compliance with the conditions attached to authorisations issued by means of various checks (audits, inspections, etc.);
  • monitoring safety levels and coordinating feedback;
  • supporting the Ministry of Transport in developing and adapting the national regulatory framework in relation to railway safety and interoperability;
  • working with the European Union Agency for Railways to develop actions for the railways (regulatory harmonisation) and collaborating with other national safety authorities (on joint monitoring activities, for example).

The EPSF's financial resources are derived from:

  • mainly a subvention for public service expenses paid by the State, the amount of which is set in the Finance Law;
  • fees paid by applicants for authorisations during examination of particular cases (excluding safety certificates and approvals).
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