According to the proposals of the UK government for its new post-Brexit border strategy, which will begin this autumn, all goods coming from the EU and subject to sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks – including fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, and plants – must pass through ports or government-managed facilities, such as the new inland border control post in Sevington, Kent.
Furthermore, according to the government’s proposals for the target operating model (TOM) at the border, a charge ranging from £20 to £43 – known as the “common user charge” – will be levied on every consignment of food or plants entering the UK from January, regardless of whether they require checks or not.
The government’s border proposals state that this charge should be paid on “every consignment entering via the port of Dover and Eurotunnel that is subject to SPS controls. The charge would apply to all eligible consignments, whether selected for a BCP inspection (border control post) or not.”
Companies involved in transporting and distributing fresh produce from overseas through Great Britain say that this will limit choice and increase costs. Some fear that the reliance on government-managed control posts in implementing the new border strategy will be an “absolute disaster.” They predict that significant delays at government border crossings for import checks – crucial for perishable goods – could lead to new gaps on supermarket shelves for fresh produce, while the additional costs and administrative burdens may cause some exporters to stop shipping products to the United Kingdom.