UK Government refuses to pay the running costs of new border control posts
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething has revealed the UK Government is refusing to fund the operating costs for two new border control posts being built in in Wales.
A total of 30 BCPs are being built across the UK to enable physical checks to be carried out on certain goods entering the UK from the EU as required under the Brexit trade deal.
Holyhead has already been confirmed as the location for one of the facilities, but a main contractor is yet to be appointed to oversee construction. The post other is expected to be built in Pembrokeshire, but the precise location is yet to be confirmed.
“This Government has always had an expectation that the UK Government would fund these facilities, as the introduction of border checks and the required infrastructure is a new pressure, caused by Brexit, Mr Gething observed in a written statement.
“Since the Spending Review, the UK Government has agreed in principle to fund build costs for both permanent and interim facilities upon submission of a reserve claim, supported by business cases for north and south west Wales.
“Only those costs which are absolutely necessary up to and including 2024-25 will be considered.
“While the UK Government has conditionally agreed to fund the construction costs of the BCPs, it has explicitly said it will not meet the operational costs.”
From July BCPs will be responsible for carrying out inspections on goods such as animals, plants and products of animal origin entering Wales from the Republic of Ireland.
All BCPs must be biosecure so that inspections of live animals, meat and plants can take place without risk of contamination and must also have vets on site to carry out inspections. They must also offer large parking areas for HGVs.
“I am therefore exploring interim arrangements at Welsh ferry ports to bridge the gap between the introduction of new controls in July 2022 and the finalisation of the permanent BCPs,” the minister added.
“This would constitute a ‘mixed’ regime whereby a basic level of checks will be completed at the temporary facilities in conjunction with continued checks at destination for certain commodities.
“We are developing these plans with input from the local authorities, relevant enforcement agencies (including the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and Border Force), as well as the ports.
“This approach will allow commodities to continue to flow through the ferry ports, while ensuring checks are carried out to limit risk to biosecurity and food safety. After July 2022, we can consider the enduring arrangements for Pembrokeshire.”
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