William Eichler 11 February 2020

Council chiefs call for ‘urgent’ consultation on post-Brexit trade checks

Local authority leaders have called on the Government to ensure that port authorities have the resources and capacities needed to carry out checks on goods coming in from the European Union.

The Government has announced that EU imports and exports will face the same checks as the rest of the world after the transition period ends and the UK has left the European Union.

In response, Cllr Kevin Bentley, chairman of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Brexit Taskforce, has called on the Government to ‘urgently’ consult with councils on how this might affect port authorities.

Some councils are legally responsible for undertaking checks of certain imports, including live animals, as they enter the country. Brexit will mean that these councils will see their workloads increase.

‘Currently, products arriving from Europe do not receive the same checks as imports from the rest of the world,’ said Cllr Bentley.

‘Introducing equivalent checks for imports arriving from Europe will have a significant impact on the number of checks required and on the way these services operate.’

Cllr Bentley warns that councils will see an impact on transport infrastructure and will require more resources to deal with the increased workload.

‘The Government should urgently consult with councils on the likely impact on transport infrastructure,’ he said.

‘The sooner councils receive clarity surrounding how these border controls will apply, the better they will be able to plan for them.

‘In order to support councils carry out a greater number of checks on goods arriving and to prevent disruption at ports, councils will also need additional resources and capacity, particularly environmental health officers and veterinary staff.’

‘We are committed to working with the Government to ensure new responsibilities are met with the appropriate levels of funding and staffing, and will continue to work with councils to identify issues which need to be addressed at national level,’ Cllr Bentley added.

Image: Martin Charles Hatch / Shutterstock.com.

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