Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Environment, Energy & Rural Affairs
The end of the transition period saw significant changes to our relationship with the European Union, ending barrier-free access to the Single Market and participation in the Customs Union. This means physical checks are now required on certain goods entering the United Kingdom.
This new inspection regime will cover animals, plants and products of animal origin entering Wales from the Republic of Ireland and a proportion of any such imports will need to pass through a Border Control Post (BCP). Such checks are the responsibility of Welsh Ministers and we are required to ensure goods entering the UK do not present a risk to public health or to the spread of animal and plant diseases.
This new inspection regime particularly affects goods flowing through Wales’ three, main, Roll-On-Roll-Off Ferry ports: Holyhead in North Wales, and the ports of Pembroke and Fishguard in South West Wales.
UK Government announced changes to the timescales involved in implementing their Border Operating Model yesterday. Whilst we welcome the recognition that the original timescale was too challenging, we remain in discussion with them to ensure that enough time is provided to adapt to the new circumstances in an effective manner, minimising disruption for business.
The UK Government has agreed, in principle, to fund the immediate costs associated with these inland BCPs, given this is a new operational requirement as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU. They are a significant investment and their ultimate delivery will be contingent on receipt of these funds.
Alongside these efforts, Welsh Government has been working with the ports and the relevant Local Authorities to identify suitable sites for the location of the necessary border infrastructure.
I am pleased to announce that the Welsh Government has now selected Plot 9 on Parc Cybi in Holyhead, to be the location for the BCP serving the port of Holyhead. We are working closely with Ynys Mon County Council in its delivery and will shortly be entering into public planning consultation as part of the Special Development Order planning process.
We also remain in close contact with HMRC, who are committed to providing an enduring facility to support the Port of Holyhead and are currently identifying a suitable location. They will continue to use current facilities in the meantime.
In South West Wales, the Welsh Government is continuing to assess available sites and we will make further announcements in due course.