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The following guidance outlines what you need to know about the introduction of border controls posts (BCPs) at Welsh ports.

First published:
12 August 2022
Last updated:

The guidance also provides an overview of the post EU-exit requirements for border checks on goods moving between the European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (UK).

Border controls posts

Leaving the EU ended the UK’s membership of the Single Market and Customs Union. Through a shared set of rules and regulations, the customs union had allowed people and goods to move freely throughout member states.

Our exit has had an impact on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) goods being imported and exported between the EU and UK. SPS goods include live animals and plants. They will be subject to extra checks at points-of-entry. These checks are to safeguard biosecurity and food safety.

These checks will take place at border control posts (BCPs). They are currently being developed throughout the UK at ports which import SPS goods from the EU.

BCPs already exist at UK airports and ports which have been importing from countries outside the EU. This is sometimes referred to as Rest of World trade. The infrastructure to provide these checks must now be developed at ports and airports which are entry points for goods from just the EU.

The checks performed on these goods include documentary, identity and physical checks. They are primarily aimed at safeguarding the UK’s biosecurity. They will also ensure public health and animal welfare by controlling diseases and invasive species.

Goods to be checked include:

  • plants
  • products of animal origin
  • live animals and
  • high risk food and feed not of animal origin

These inspections will be carried out by the designated authority for the commodity type. Local Authorities or Port Health Authorities and the Animal and Plant Health Agency are responsible for conducting most of the checks. Welsh Government is leading border controls the programme in Wales.

Welsh Government has always had an expectation that the UK Government would fund these facilities. This is because the introduction of border checks and the required infrastructure is a new pressure, caused by Brexit. Welsh Government has confirmed to Local Authorities that it is prepared to provide further financial support in 2022-23. This is for necessary start-up costs to put the required duties in place.

Wales will develop the infrastructure to carry out these checks to support  the ports of:

  • Holyhead on Anglesey in the north
  • Pembroke Dock and Fishguard in the south west

These ports handle movement of goods between the UK and EU.  

Holyhead

Holyhead port is the key entry and exit point for goods transported between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It is the second busiest roll-on roll-off ferry port in the UK. It provides a vital link in the supply chain for businesses across Wales, the UK and Ireland.

On 12 March 2021 Welsh Ministers announced the decision to locate the border controls post serving Holyhead port at Plot 9, Parc Cybi, Holyhead. Welsh Government owns the site. 

Planning permission is being sought via a Statutory Development Order (SDO) under section 59(3) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Periods of public and technical stakeholder consultation have now closed. You can view the consultation responses, along with updates on the Holyhead project on Parc Cybi, Holyhead Border Control Post [HTML] | GOV.WALES

Further information:

South west Wales

In south Wales, Pembroke Dock and Fishguard ports will need BCP facilities to continue to import certain goods.

Officials are working closely with UK Government on their policy around import controls and will ensure trade continues to flow through the south west Wales ports.

We will continue to publish any updates on the south west Wales BCP online.

Further information:

Guidance: preparing for further border controls

UK Government announced on the 28 April the postponement of further import controls planned to come into force July 2022.

The previously introduced controls remain in place. Current arrangements in place for trade from the island of Ireland will continue.

The UK Government have updated the Border Operating Model to reflect this postponement Border Operating Model - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

We expect further information on future border control processes to be available later this year.

Guidance: Pre-notification on IPAFFS of certain goods imported through Welsh ports

Import animal products through Welsh ports? From 1 January the rules will change. You may need to pre-notify your imports.

Welsh Government is consulting on a requirement from 1 January 2023 to pre-notify on IPAFFS products of animal origin and regulated and notifiable plants and plant products, not already subject to pre-notification, arriving from Ireland. We will continue to require pre-notification for live animals, high priority plants, and high-risk food and feed not of animal origin. 

This will mean importers of goods travelling to Wales from the Republic of Ireland will need to enter a limited amount of information about their consignments in the online IPAFFS system. No paperwork or certification will be required.

Importers using Welsh ports will be familiar with pre-notification as they prepared for its introduction in January 2022 and again in July 2022 although it was postponed at short notice. Those who import from the EU continent or elsewhere in the world are already pre-notifying all SPS goods.

The introduction of pre-notification for these goods will provide extremely valuable data to government officials and relevant enforcement authorities, such as local authorities. This will allow Welsh Government and our partners to ensure border infrastructure and staffing resource are appropriate to meet expected demand and provide value-for-money for importers, tax payers and consumers.

Importers who are not already registered and familiar with using the IPAFFS system for pre-notification can follow the below guidance;

Importers, or their intermediaries, can access IPAFFS here; Import of products, animals, food and feed system (IPAFFS) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Further information

Further information