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). 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:
- 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 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 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 consultation responses, along with updates on the Holyhead project: 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 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, we will continue to publish updates on the south west Wales BCP online.
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) have now been published in the UK Government’s final Border Target Operating Model. These changes will now be phased in gradually, beginning with the pre-notification process for goods (other than Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods) moving directly from Irish ports to Great Britain, and certain other goods. The Welsh and UK Governments are currently discussing the precise dates for these stages to begin at the three Welsh BCPs. The Welsh Government will provide an update as soon as possible.
Identity and physical checks will begin at Welsh BCPs no earlier than October 2024.
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.
- 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)