The following guidance outlines what you need to know about the introduction of border controls posts (BCPs) at Welsh ports.
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).
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). They are currently being developed throughout the UK at ports which import 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:
- 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 the 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 required infrastructure is a new pressure, caused by Brexit. Welsh Government has confirmed to Local Authorities that it is prepared to provide further financial support in 2022-23. This is for necessary start-up costs to put the required duties in place.
Wales will develop 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 is being sought 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. You can view the consultation responses, along with updates on the Holyhead project on Parc Cybi, Holyhead Border Control Post.
- Amendments to sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) rules on imports of EU goods
- Cabinet oral statement: Border controls 28June 2022
- Welsh Government Written Statement: Update on Border Control Posts 10 March 2022
- Welsh Government Written Statement: Update on Border Controls Infrastructure 19 January 2022
- Welsh Government Written Statement: Announcement of Border Control Post Site Locations 12 March 2021
South west Wales
In south Wales, Pembroke Dock and Fishguard ports will need BCP facilities to continue to import certain goods.
Officials are working closely with UK Government on their policy around import controls and will ensure trade continues to flow through the south west Wales ports.
We will continue to publish any updates on the south west Wales BCP online.
Guidance: preparing for further border controls
UK Government announced on the 28 April the postponement of further import controls planned to come into force July 2022.
The previously introduced controls remain in place. Current arrangements in place for trade from the island of Ireland will continue.
The UK Government have updated the Border Operating Model to reflect this postponement Border Operating Model - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
Consultation: Transitional Staging Period Extension and Pre-notification on IPAFFS of certain goods imported through Welsh ports
Border controls on plants, animals and products of animal origin were due to come into force on 1 January 2023 but the UK Government announced a radical review of the GB border regime in April. We look forward to analysing conclusions in its Target Operating Model to assess the infrastructure requirements, resource implications and delivery timetable. Meanwhile it is necessary to delay the introduction of checks as it would otherwise be unlawful to import these goods into Welsh ports except through designated Border Control Posts - there are none in Wales at present.
Following engagement with stakeholders and careful consideration of the consultation responses, we have extended the transitional staging period until 31 January 2024, therefore delaying the introduction of SPS controls scheduled to come into effect on 1 January 2023. The extension will allow sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods to continue to flow through Welsh ports, thus minimising disruption for businesses and importers. This will also enable the Welsh Government to continue to work with other UK governments to finalise and implement the Target Operating Model, to ensure a coherent, effective, and efficient system of controls, thereby enhancing biosecurity and minimising the impact on importers. Similar legislation to extend the transitional staging period has also been introduced in England and Scotland.
On pre-notification, we have listened carefully to the feedback, particularly the concerns voiced by stakeholders regarding the available time before 1 January 2023 to prepare. We have therefore decided, to postpone the introduction of prenotification until later in 2023.
- UK Government guidance for importing or moving Products of Animal Origin (on GOV.UK)
- UK Government guidance for importing or moving Animal by-products and high risk food and feed not of animal origin (on GOV.UK)
- UK Government guidance for importing or moving Plants and plant products (on GOV.UK)
- Sign up to Defra's EU-GB newsletter (on confirmsubscription.com)
- HMRC Customs & International Trade Helpline - 0300 200 3700
- HMRC Imports and Exports General Enquiries (including GVMS) - 0300 322 9434
- HMRC online general enquiries for imports and exports (on GOV.UK)
- Defra also has additional helplines (GOV.UK)