Last reviewed 6 May 2022

Operators moving goods between the UK and the EU will be aware the Government has delayed introducing checks on food products coming into the country a few times, although the EU put its equivalent checks in place promptly after Brexit was finalised.

Haulage firms who have been preparing for the latest date set for checks to come into place — 1 July 2022 — will not now need to make special preparations following a statement to Parliament by the Brexit Opportunities Minister, Jacob Rees-Mogg.

He said that it would be wrong to impose new administrative burdens and risk disruption at ports when consumers and businesses are being hit by rising costs caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine and soaring energy prices.

A new Target Operating Model to be introduced instead will, the Government explained, be based on a better assessment of risk and will harness the power of data and technology. It will be published in the autumn and the new controls regime will come into force at the end of 2023.

Mr Rees-Mogg said: “The Government is accelerating our transformative programme to digitise Britain’s borders, harnessing new technologies and data to reduce friction and costs for businesses and consumers. This is a new approach for a new era, as Britain maximises the benefits of leaving the EU and puts in place the right policies for our trade with the whole world”.

John Keefe, Director of Public Affairs for Eurotunnel, said: “Eurotunnel supports this decision which will keep goods flowing seamlessly into the UK. It is good for traders as it reduces import declaration paperwork on food and perishables. It is good for transporters as it increases fluidity at the border and it is good for consumers as it keeps the cost of living down”.

However, the chief executive of the British Ports Association (BPA), Richard Ballantyne, has complained that borders infrastructure had to be prepared for the expected sanitary and phytosanitary inspections, and these newly-built Border Control Posts (BCPs) were now, he said, potentially useless.

Controls not being introduced

“Businesses can stop their preparations for July now,” Mr Rees-Mogg said, referring to the following controls which have been deferred until late next year:

  • a requirement for Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) checks currently at destination to be moved to a Border Control Post (BCP)

  • a requirement for safety and security declarations on EU imports

  • a requirement for health certification for further SPS imports

  • a requirement for SPS goods to be presented at a BCP

  • prohibitions and restrictions on the import of chilled meats from the EU.