Sophie Cameron

News Editor, Solicitors Journal

Government publishes draft proposals for new border controls

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Government publishes draft proposals for new border controls

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Plans to strengthen UK borders against illegal imports and biosecurity threats

The UK government’s Cabinet Office and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs published proposed plans on 5 April, devised in collaboration with the Scottish and Welsh governments, to strengthen the UK’s borders against illegal imports and biosecurity threats. The new plans for transforming the UK’s border are backed by in excess of £1 billion of investment across the spending review period, aimed at improving the systems and technology used to support the movement of goods and people across the border.

The draft border target operating model aims to realise the government’s plans set out in the UK’s 2025 border strategy, which was published on 17 December 2020. The draft proposals will now be subject to a six-week engagement period with industry before a final version is published later this year.

The proposed model includes a new single trade window, to be fully operational by 2027, which aims to streamline processes for traders, who will only need to submit information once and in one place. The government also intends to test further simplified processes by piloting a programme of trusted trader assurance schemes.

More specifically, the draft model proposes the implementation of controls through three milestones: by 31 October 2023, the introduction of health certifications for imports of medium-risk animal products, plants, plant products and high-risk food (and feed) of non-animal origin from the EU; by 31 January 2024, the introduction of documentary and risk-based identity and physical checks on medium-risk animal products, plants, plant products and high-risk food (and feed) of non-animal origin from the EU; and by 31 October 2024, the safety and security declarations for EU imports will come into force, so alongside this the UK will introduce a reduced dataset for imports and the use of the UK single trade window will remove duplication where possible.

The draft model also outlines that new checks and controls will be introduced for Irish goods moving from Ireland directly to Great Britain, in accordance with the Windsor Framework.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office, said: “The publication of our draft Border Target Operating Model is a huge step forward for the safety, security and efficiency of our borders. Our proposals strike a balance between giving consumers and businesses confidence while reducing the costs and friction for businesses, which in turn will help to grow the economy.”