UK Government publishes draft proposals for new border controls

Posted on 5 April, 2023 by Advance 

The UK Government - in collaboration with the Scottish and Welsh Governments - has today published its plan to strengthen borders against biosecurity threats and illegal imports.

Image courtesy Cabinet Office 

The draft Border Target Operating Model sets out a plan to realise the ambition of the 2025 Border Strategy to create the most effective border in the world.

The draft has been devised following extensive engagement with the Border Industry and businesses across the UK. A six week engagement period will now take place, with the final Target Operating Model to be published later this year.

The border transformation is backed by over a £1 billion investment across this spending review period, to improve how government systems and technology support the movement of goods and people across the border.

The proposed new model will prevent delays at the border through a reduction in the need for physical checks for many types of goods and by ensuring that checks take place away from ports where this is needed to allow traffic to flow freely.

The proposals in the Target Operating Model apply to imports from all countries. These controls will ensure our environment is protected, deliver food that is safe to eat whilst maintaining security of supply for consumers, and disrupt criminal activity before it can harm our communities.

Biosecurity is vital in an increasingly uncertain world and the full controls will mean that we can protect ourselves against known and unknown threats. The controls will protect consumers, businesses, and the economy as a whole against disease threats such as African Swine Fever and Xylella.

The proposed Target Operating Model secures Great Britain’s borders against such threats while making it as easy as possible to do business. To limit the burden on businesses, our new proposed risk-based global model will use data and technology to simplify and streamline import trade processes.

Central to this proposed model is the new Single Trade Window, delivered from 2023 to be fully operational by 2027. This technology will streamline processes for traders, who will only need to submit information once and in one place.

The government will also test further simplified processes by piloting an ambitious programme of trusted trader assurance schemes.

Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office, said: "The publication of our draft Border Target Operating Model is a huge step forward for the safety, security and efficiency of our borders. Our proposals strike a balance between giving consumers and businesses confidence while reducing the costs and friction for businesses, which in turn will help to grow the economy."

Biosecurity Minister Lord Benyon said: "It is vital that we have strong border controls in place. Invasive diseases could cost our farms and businesses billions of pounds, threaten our food safety and break confidence in UK exports around the world. That is why we are working hand in glove with businesses to devise a strong system that works for the nation."

Amanda Francis, Chief Executive of the Association of International Courier & Express Services, said: "International express operators support the Government’s plans to improve efficiencies at the border to ease the flow of goods and minimise costs of trade for UK businesses.  We particularly welcome the proportionate risk based approach this draft Target Operating Model adopts and the proposals to reduce the data requirements for safety and security and allow the use of Transit Security Accompanying Documents.  We hope to work with Government to implement these proposals and look at other areas of simplification building on a trusted operator approach.

Gavin Stedman, Port Health & Public Protection Director at London Port Health Authority said: "We welcome the publication of the TOM which will provide the basis for consistent risk based checks across EU and non-EU trade. The establishment of a dynamic and flexible system will afford greater efficiency and transparency allowing us to be more responsive to demands, thus balancing biosecurity and trade needs at our borders."