The Scottish Government is preparing to create a new customs checkpoint in Dumfries and Galloway as a consequence of Brexit.
Under phased stages from April 1, goods entering the UK will be subject to the same border entry requirement and controls as goods from the rest of the world under the terms of the Brexit deal.
The Border Control Post (BCP) at Cairnryan will be used to inspect goods arriving in Scotland from the Republic of Ireland and the wider EU via Northern Ireland.
Checks on animals, fish, plants, food and feed are required to ensure products entering the market do not present a risk to public health, and these checks are the responsibility of Scottish Ministers.
A Special Development Order (SDO) – a statutory instrument which will help ensure that planning permission is in place for the infrastructure – has now been laid in the Scottish Parliament.
Scotland’s Constitution Secretary, Mike Russell, said: “This move is a direct consequence of a Brexit that people in Scotland overwhelmingly rejected. In these circumstances it is a practical, common sense and timely action to provide additional planning certainty while detailed proposals are developed and a site for this post is selected.
“Time is of the essence. I have twice written to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to press for a decision on the need for this post, but it was only in January that the UK Government confirmed checks would be required on non-qualifying Northern Ireland goods at Cairnryan.
“We are also still waiting to hear whether HMRC would like to use the site for their responsibilities.
“But by laying this SDO, the Scottish Government, for its own part, is preparing to move as speedily and effectively as it can.”
The UK Government requires the BCP to be established in the second half of 2021.
Once an appropriate site has been selected, a site-specific planning consent will have to be obtained before construction can get underway, and the SDO requires engagement to be carried out with various parties before this approval can be sought.
The Scottish Government said that 2.59 million tonnes of freight entered the ports at Cairnryan and Lochryan in 2019, which equates to approximately 400,000 freight movements.
An alternative route for these goods would need to be found if a BCP is not provided at Cairnryan.
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