UK government proposes new plans for post-Brexit border checks and controls

UK government proposes new plans for post-Brexit border checks and controls
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Thu 6th Apr 2023

Post-Brexit customs requirements for goods being exported to the UK from the European Union will be streamlined and simplified, the government has said as it publishes new plans after several delays.

The introduction of the rules, which are required under the Brexit deal with the EU, have been postponed four times which the government said was due to reasons including the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the cost of living crisis.

Ministers have now published new draft proposals for the Border Target Operating Model with businesses invited to provide feedback.

The government says the changes would benefit businesses by cutting back on red tape due to a focus on use of technology and reduced physical checks of goods. It will be supported by £1bn in funding to help streamline the process.

A forward to the proposals document says:

"This model takes a data-driven approach to managing our border, utilising tech to reduce the reams of paperwork firms are currently forced to complete when they do business.

"It will eradicate the cumbersome and frustrating approach currently taken to carrying out checks, replacing it with a more targeted, risk-based system that is underpinned by evidence and data."

Post-Brexit border check changes:

The proposed changes for goods sent from the EU to the UK include:

  • Introduction of the new Single Trade Window which will start to be introduced this year and be fully operational by 2027. The technology means traders will only need to submit information once and remove the current need for sending data multiple times.

  • Safety and Security data requirements reduced from 37 mandatory fields to 24. The remaining 13 fields will be optional.

  • Live animals, germinal products, products of animal origin, animal by-products, plants and plant products will be categorised as high, medium or low risk, with controls appropriately weighted against the risks posed both by the commodity and the country of origin.

  • Piloted schemes through which authorised importers of plants, plant products and some animal products may be eligible for streamlined controls.

  • Simplified and digitised health certificates.

  • The removal of the need for some checks not having to take place at a border control posts to streamline processes and reduce build up of traffic.

If approved, the government says the changes would be implemented as follows:

  • 31 October 2023: The introduction of health certification on imports of medium risk animal products, plants, plant products and high risk food (and feed) of non-animal origin from the EU.

  • 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. Imports of sanitary and phytosanitary goods from the rest of the world will also begin to be covered by the new risk based model.

  • 31 October 2024: Introduction of safety and security declarations for EU imports, a reduced dataset for imports and use of the UK Single Trade Window.

The changes will not apply to Northern Ireland following the agreement of the Windsor Framework between the UK and the EU.

Commenting on the proposals, Cabinet Office minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe 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."

Biosecurity minister Lord Benyon added:

"It is vital that we have strong border controls in place. Invasive diseases could cost our farms and businesses billions of pounds, threaten our food safety and break confidence in UK exports around the world. That is why we are working hand in glove with businesses to devise a strong system that works for the nation."

If you would you like to share your views on the new Border Target Operating Model and how it could impact your small business, email Dan.

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance journalist and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's news reporter and Bristol Local Leader. I have 20 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from famous names like Sir Richard Branson and Deborah Meaden to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation as the website's news reporter and as the host of the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

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