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Border Target Operating Model

Volume 737: debated on Monday 4 September 2023

The Minister of State, Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, has today made the following statement:

On 29 August 2023, the Government published the final border target operating model and confirmed our approach to border controls for goods imported into Great Britain. These controls will be progressively introduced from the end of January 2024 to better protect the UK against biosecurity threats and create a world-class border system.

The publication follows extensive engagement with stakeholders on the draft we published in April 2023. In response to this feedback, we have revised the timeline for the introduction of sanitary and phytosanitary controls, and have postponed the first implementation milestone by three months to give businesses sufficient time to prepare.

Bearing in mind our commitment on inflation, we have worked to ensure that the border target operating model does not impact costs for consumers. Our analysis indicates that, at most, the impact of the new model on annual consumer food price inflation will be less than 0.2% in total over a three-year period.

The border target operating model sets out the improved rules and processes that will apply to the import of goods into Great Britain. We have worked with the devolved Administrations to agree this approach, ensuring that a coherent model is introduced across the United Kingdom.

Our border controls on goods will include safety and security controls for EU goods, and sanitary and phytosanitary checks. This approach will reduce the risk of importing harmful diseases, including zoonotic diseases which are responsible for a majority of new and emerging infectious diseases in humans (including those with pandemic potential).

While the costs of new disease outbreaks cannot be quantified directly, previous outbreaks have had severe agricultural and economic impacts. Our new approach will fulfil the UK’s domestic and international obligations and uphold our reputation for the high regulatory standards that underpin our agrifood trading relationships.

The border target operating model will implement controls through three major milestones:

31 January 2024: 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.

30 April 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. At this point, imports of sanitary and phytosanitary goods from the rest of the world will begin to benefit from the new risk-based model.

31 October 2024: Safety and security declarations for EU imports will come into force from 31 October 2024. Alongside this, we will introduce a reduced dataset for imports and use of the UK single trade window will remove duplication where possible across different pre-arrival datasets.

At west coast ports, businesses will face new checks and controls when moving Irish goods (i.e. any goods other than qualifying Northern Ireland goods) from Irish ports directly to Great Britain. The border target operating model sets out information on these new controls, which we will introduce from 31 January 2024. The date for the commencement of physical checks for nonqualifying goods moving from the island of Ireland will be confirmed in Autumn 2023. In line with the Windsor framework, we will ensure that Northern Ireland businesses have unfettered access when moving qualifying goods to their most important market in Great Britain.

We will continue to work with businesses and ports to prepare for the implementation of new controls.

Copies of the border target operating model were deposited in the Libraries of the Houses of Parliament over summer recess and remain available to Members.