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Ashford Borough Council will provide a Port Health Service at the Sevington Inland Border Facility (IBF), starting in October 2021. It is expected to be one of the biggest facilities in the UK.

As a result of EU Transition, the council becomes responsible for checks on imports of products of animal origin (POAO), high-risk food not of animal origin (HRFNAO) and animal by-products (animal products not for human consumption) imported from the EU that transit into the UK via Eurotunnel.

The site will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It is estimated that around 124,000 checks a year will be carried out at Sevington, which has been built on farmland alongside J10A of the M20. 

Around 130 staff are likely to be directly employed/engaged by the council. The service will be introduced on a phased approach with documentary checks starting on the 1 October 2021 and physical checks on 1 January 2022.

However, IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing) clearance commenced on 7 June 2021.

The recruitment drive has already begun, with a range of new posts on offer including specialist veterinary staff, environmental health officers, administrative staff and several other roles. The new team will be based at a new building being constructed on site. 

Work is now going on to design the service in detail. This includes ensuring the policies and procedures are in place, integrating the IT systems, designing the checking processes, undertaking the necessary recruitment and beginning the various training programmes.