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Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Economy

First published:
10 March 2022
Last updated:

Leaving the EU has brought additional pressures to our ports, including the requirement for new infrastructure. I have previously confirmed our commitment to establish permanent and interim arrangements for Holyhead. 

Today I am confirming a further step in this process with the appointment of Kier as the contractor for the design of the proposed Border Control Post facility to be situated at plot 9, Parc Cybi. During the design stage of the contract Kier will work with the Welsh Government to produce detailed designs for the facility, which will then allow the cost and timetable to be confirmed.

Construction work on the proposed site will not start until the build stage of the contract is agreed, expected in the summer, and the site will continue to be used as a HGV parking facility until that time. This stage is also subject to the granting of planning permission via a Special Development Order with a decision expected in May. I expect that the BCP will be operational by April 2023.

Turning to Southwest Wales where I previously announced that our preferred location for a BCP to serve both Pembroke Dock and Fishguard, was a site at Johnston. I can confirm now that we have terminated our negotiations for that particular site, following surveys which have revealed a large number of bat species. In addition, the consolidation of border controls facilities onto one plot is no longer a pre-requisite. This expands the range of potential options for the South-west Wales permanent border control post, which may allow provision closer to the 2 ports, or an alternative site in the Johnston locality or elsewhere.

I have always been clear in my commitment to deliver permanent and interim arrangements at Holyhead. Signing off a build contract was a major part of this commitment, which we have now done. In parallel with this work is the development of interim arrangements for each of the 3 ports planned to take effect from 1 July: another priority for us, which will ensure we maintain the flow of imports from the Island of Ireland whilst protecting biosecurity and food safety.

We continue to develop these plans with input from the local authorities, relevant enforcement agencies (including the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA)), as well as the ports. We are working through details and practical arrangements for these sites, with all 3 Welsh ferry ports confirming there is scope for a temporary structure on the port to accommodate checks for some commodities.

Recent extension to staged controls for all movements of goods from the island of Ireland to Great Britain beyond 1 January 2022 continue to raise uncertainty for those that have to make preparations, a point I continue to make to UK Ministers.

My Written Statement on 19 January confirmed that I would consider the permanent BCP arrangements for Pembrokeshire after July and this has not changed. I am not ruling out any options at this stage – including alternative sites at Johnston. The provision of interim arrangements allows more time to consider all the options whilst monitoring changes in trade flows.