UK Government publishes draft proposals for new border controls

UK Government publishes draft proposals for new border controls

The UK Government, in collaboration with the Scottish and Welsh Governments, has published its plan to enforce checks on products entering the UK.

The Government said that the plans will “strengthen [UK] borders against biosecurity threats and illegal imports.”

According to a Government statement, the draft Border Target Operating Model sets out a plan to “realise the ambition” of the 2025 Border Strategy to create “the most effective border in the world.”

The draft has been devised following engagement with the Border Industry and businesses across the UK. A further six week engagement period will now take place, with the final Target Operating Model to be published later this year.

The new Border Operating Model will require:

  • All businesses importing fresh or frozen meat, dairy and other goods to provide an export health certificate alongside the consignment of goods entering the UK
  • All export health certificates must be signed in person by a vet at point of departure
  • Every consignment of goods in the medium and high-risk categories entering the UK will face a new ‘border tax’ up to £41 per consignment whether or not they are to be inspected
  • All goods in medium and high-risk categories will be subject to documentary checks, largely negating the promises around light touch physical inspection.

The plan is backed by over a £1 billion investment across this spending review period, to improve how Government systems and technology support the movement of goods and people across the border.

The proposed new model aims to prevent delays at the border through a reduction in the need for physical checks for many types of goods, and by ensuring that checks take place away from ports where this is needed to allow traffic to flow freely.

The proposals in the Target Operating Model apply to imports from all countries.

Limiting the burden

“Biosecurity is vital in an increasingly uncertain world and the full controls will mean that we can protect ourselves against known and unknown threats,” the Government statement read.

“The controls will protect consumers, businesses and the economy as a whole against disease threats such as African Swine Fever and Xylella.

“The proposed Target Operating Model secures Great Britain’s borders against such threats while making it as easy as possible to do business. To limit the burden on businesses, our new proposed risk-based global model will use data and technology to simplify and streamline import trade processes.”

Shane Brennan is chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation.

Massive disappointment

Logistics trade body the Cold Chain Federation (CCF) has warned that the proposals will fuel shortages and price inflation.

Cold Chain Federation chief executive Shane Brennan said: “Six years since the UK started the process of leaving the EU and after two previous postponements to bringing in the necessary food controls, the proposals today are a massive disappointment. They solve none of the real risks facing our post-Brexit food supply chains and will exacerbate shortages on the shelf and food inflation.

“When plans to bring in controls starting from July 2022 were cancelled, we were promised a fundamentally new approach to how the UK would manage its border, that is not what this proposal is. None of the fundamental problems have been solved and business have nowhere near enough time to prepare.

“Groupage, which is the only cost-effective way to move smaller volumes of food goods into food retail, restaurants and more, will no longer be workable under the new regulations so we can expect a collapse in the volume of speciality products coming into the UK. Overall, exporting products such as meat and dairy from the EU into the UK will be more expensive, slower and more complicated.”

He added: “We have to expect that many EU based food exporters will take one look at these proposals and decide to cease supplying UK customers. As the recent tomato shortages have shown, food suppliers have plenty of options to sell elsewhere. Bringing in this scheme, in this form, at this pace, at a time of spiralling food price inflation and ongoing supply shortages is a really bad idea.”

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