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The following guidance outlines what you need to know about the introduction of border controls posts (BCPs) at Welsh ports.

First published:
12 August 2022
Last updated:

The guidance also provides an overview of the post EU-exit requirements for border checks on goods moving between the European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (UK).

Guidance: preparing for further border controls

New processes for safety and security controls (applying to all imports), and sanitary and phytosanitary controls (applying to imports of live animals, animal products, plants and plants products and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin) were published in the UK Government’s Border Target Operating Model in August 2023. 

These changes are now being phased in.

31 January 2024 saw the introduction of import pre-notification for Products of Animal Origin (POAO) and Export Health Certificates on imports of medium-risk animal products, plants, plant products and high-risk food and feed of non-animal origin from the EU, other than Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods.

More information on these changes can be found on the UK Government website.

Identity and physical checks at ports will not begin yet. These will start on 30 April for most imports, but later on goods transported from Ireland. 

Identity and physical checks on goods requiring inspection from the island of Ireland are now not expected to begin before Spring 2025. This website will be updated with the final date for these checks to begin once it has been agreed by the Welsh, Scottish and UK Governments.

Border controls posts

Leaving the EU ended the UK’s membership of the Single Market and Customs Union. Through a shared set of rules and regulations, the customs union had allowed people and goods to move freely throughout member states.

Our exit has had an impact on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods being imported and exported between the EU and UK. SPS goods include live animals and plants. They will be subject to extra checks at points-of-entry. These checks are to safeguard biosecurity and food safety.

These checks will take place at border control posts (BCPs). The UK Government has now released the Border Target Operating Model, which lays out the rules and processes for importing SPS goods from the EU.

BCPs already exist at UK airports and ports which have been importing from countries outside the EU. This is sometimes referred to as Rest of World trade. The infrastructure to provide these checks must now be developed at ports and airports which are entry points for goods from just the EU.

The checks performed on these goods include documentary, identity and physical checks. They are primarily aimed at safeguarding the UK’s biosecurity. They will also ensure public health and animal welfare by controlling diseases and invasive species.

Goods to be checked include:

  • plants
  • products of animal origin
  • live animals and
  • high risk food and feed not of animal origin

These inspections will be carried out by the designated authority for the commodity type. Local Authorities or Port Health Authorities and the Animal and Plant Health Agency are responsible for conducting most of the checks. Welsh Government is leading border controls programme in Wales.

Welsh Government has always had an expectation that the UK Government would fund these facilities. This is because the introduction of border checks and the associated infrastructure is a new pressure, caused by Brexit.

The UK Government has agreed to fund the ‘absolutely necessary’ BCP build costs and any necessary interim facilities in Wales up to March 2025. The Welsh Government will continue to discuss the funding for other aspects of the Border Target Operating Model with the UK Government.

Wales is developing the infrastructure to carry out these checks to support the ports of:

  • Holyhead on Anglesey in the north
  • Pembroke Dock and Fishguard in the south west

These ports handle movement of goods between the UK and EU.  


Holyhead port is the key entry and exit point for goods transported between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It is the second busiest roll-on roll-off ferry port in the UK. It provides a vital link in the supply chain for businesses across Wales, the UK and Ireland.

On 12 March 2021 Welsh Ministers announced the decision to locate the border controls post serving Holyhead port at Plot 9, Parc Cybi, Holyhead. Welsh Government owns the site. 

Planning permission has been granted via a Statutory Development Order (SDO) under section 59(3) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Periods of public and technical stakeholder consultation have now closed.

View the SDO: The Town and Country Planning (North Wales Border Control Post) (EU Exit) Special Development Order 2023 (

View the consultation responses, along with updates on the Holyhead project: Parc Cybi, Holyhead Border Control Post.

On 27 February 2024, the Welsh Government signed the main build contract for construction on the Holyhead Border Control Post with Kier Construction. This follows on from contracts with them for enabling and ground preparatory works.

Further information:

South west Wales

In south Wales, Pembroke Dock and Fishguard ports will need BCP facilities to continue to import certain goods.

Officials have worked closely with UK administrations to develop policies around import controls and will continue to do so to ensure trade continues to flow through the south west Wales ports.

Following the publication of the UK Government’s Border Target Operating Model, preparatory work continues on Border Control Posts at Fishguard and Pembroke Dock, and we expect construction work on all Welsh BCPs to be completed by late Spring 2025.

We will continue to publish updates on the south west Wales BCP online.

Further information:

Consultation: Transitional Staging Period Extension and Pre-notification on IPAFFS of certain goods imported through Welsh ports

The Welsh Government is now beginning the process of implementing the relevant infrastructure requirements, resource requirements and delivery timetable laid out in the Border Target Operating Model. We are committed to creating border control posts for Pembrokeshire and Holyhead in good time for identity and physical checks on plants, animals, and products of animal origin to begin.

Further information

Further information