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Government confirm that checks will still be required on EU goods entering the UKPublished: 01/08/2023
Ashford Borough Council has welcomed a Government announcement confirming that checks will still be required on EU goods.
The regime for checking goods imported from the EU at Sevington was delayed in 2022 as the Government decided to overhaul the entire imports landscape to take in rest of the world controlled goods and not just those originating from the EU.
The exercise was intended to both reduce the amount of checks needed at the border and also to simplify the regime in general.
The review looked at how data from multiple sources could be combined to ease the number of IT systems needing to be used to import goods. This will now be delivered through a single trade window (STW). This idea has been in the planning stages for several years and it is good to see that the need to overhaul import controls has finally resulted in significant progress being made.
The STW covers both Port Health and Customs Controls. In order to move the work forwards, a new Target Operating Model (TOM) was produced building on previous work contained in a document called the Border Operating Model that was more focused on the EU trade.
The TOM was meant to be published in autumn 2022 but it was delayed. It was published on 5 April 2023 as a draft document inviting feedback from stakeholders. Ashford Port Health were involved in a number of work streams which ultimately were considered within the final model.
“Excellent news” for Ashford
Ashford Borough Council Chief Executive Tracey Kerly said: “The publication of the TOM is excellent news for the council as it has confirmed that checks will still be required on EU goods.
“Our Port Health Team, under the direction of Anthony Baldock, Director of Health and Wellbeing, is currently working in various roles within DEFRA and APHA dealing with the bird flu epidemic and on trials related to the schemes proposed in the new TOM.
“Our team will be fully returning to the council from the early summer as at present their time is shared so that the work we are already engaged in, such as Illegal Unregulated Fishing controls, can be maintained.”
The TOM takes a staged approach to the introduction of the controls being introduced. Goods that are subject to so-called sanitary or phytosanitary controls (SPS) undergo documentary checks. Identity checks and physical checks based on risk.
The TOM sets out that documentary checks will be introduced for high and medium risk products of animal origin from October 2023 for EU goods.
The full checking regime, including identity checks and physical inspections, will begin in January 2024.
As well as products of animal origin that are subject to border controls there are certain plant-based goods and plants that are also subject to controls due to high levels of pesticides, naturally occurring harmful toxins or microbiological contamination.