A six month push back on post-Brexit border checks has been announced by the UK Government to give businesses more time to prepare for the new procedures.
Physical checks will now move back from July to January 2022, easing the race to build new border control posts, while health certificate requirements will be put on hold to October – having previously been due on April 1.
Cabinet Office Minister Lord Frost said it would help companies ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic to focus on “getting back on their feet”.
Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Ports Association – which represents all of the UK’s main roll-on roll-off ports at which vehicles will be subject to new checks – said: ”Much of the infrastructure being built to facilitate these border controls is unlikely to be ready by July, so this move enables ports to prepare better for what will be a major change in our trading relationship with Europe.
“Of course, there is much to do and once completed these border processes will introduce major changes at ports, but this extension goes a long way to helping ports and the logistics industry get ready.”
The move was also welcomed by the seafood and retail industries in particular, with real fears of getting supply of fresh goods into the country.
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “With many of the key Border Control Posts currently little more than a hole in the ground, the six month easement comes in the nick of time.
“Until the infrastructure is in place, with IT systems ready and established processes for checks and paperwork, it would be foolhardy to introduce full requirements for EHC documentation, pre-notification of imports, physical checks and more.
“The government must not rest on its laurels though, and the next six months must be used to establish and communicate the new systems with UK retailers and EU suppliers.”
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