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Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Economy

First published:
29 February 2024
Last updated:

I am pleased to inform the Senedd that this week (27 February 2024) the Welsh Government signed a contract with Kier Construction to begin main construction work on the new Border Control Post at Holyhead in North Wales. This is needed following the post-Brexit Border Target Operating Model which the UK Government published in August 2023, following agreement with the Welsh and Scottish Governments.

Holyhead Port is a hugely important link between the UK and Ireland, and currently supports around 700 local jobs on Anglesey. Building the Border Control Post will help safeguard those jobs for the future while also creating some estimated 80 more, both during its construction and for the lifetime operation. This includes a range of employment opportunities for local people, including as cleaners, security, stevedores, vets, and port health inspectors. 

Kier Construction’s work on the Border Control Post, which began in April 2023 and is due to end in January 2025, is expected to contribute significantly to the local economy, with a commitment to a minimum 40% spend in North Wales across the lifetime of the contract, including local construction jobs and local suppliers, along with upskilling training for pupils at local schools and colleges. 

Preparatory work also continues on Border Control Posts at Fishguard and Pembroke Dock, and we expect construction work on all three sites to be completed by late Spring 2025, subject to the resolution of a number of issues on which I am waiting to hear from UK Government Ministers.

As I have said many times, staying joined-up is the best approach to guaranteeing biosecurity and a long-term future for Welsh ports. The Welsh Government will continue to press for an approach which works for Wales, while giving businesses and delivery partners sufficient notice to prepare. 

While I have yet to agree the date for implementation of physical checks on imports from Ireland with the UK and Scottish Governments, the signing of this contract clearly demonstrates our commitment to the importance of Holyhead as an ongoing trade route to and from Ireland.

Implementing border controls presents an additional cost to the Welsh Government. In 2024-25, we have made £6.4m of revenue funding available, which includes support for local authorities to prepare for their role in the process of checking documents and physical checks. This is in addition to more than £7m which has already been committed by the Welsh Government. 

The UK Government has given funding assurance of £47.8 million for the construction. Coming on top of the Welsh Government’s announcement in October 2023 of a £40 million package for the refurbishment of the Holyhead Breakwater, the Border Control Post represents a substantial additional infrastructure investment in securing the long-term future of Holyhead Port.