Farming News - DEFRA: Coverage about upcoming border checks

DEFRA: Coverage about upcoming border checks

There has been misleading reporting this morning (19 April) claiming that health and safety checks for EU imports won’t be “turned on” as planned from 30 April 2024. However, as has been previously outlined, we will be commencing checks from 30 April.


The UK government has full confidence that the facilities, infrastructure and systems at the border, will be ready for the 30 April implementation date of new border checks.

The priority for physical checks from day one will be on the highest risk goods, and Port Health Authorities will be conducting documentary checks on consignments of all risk levels and will contact traders where they have concerns. Checks will be scaled up to full check levels in a sensible and controlled way.

A UK Government spokesperson said:

“As we have always said, the goods posing the highest biosecurity risk are being prioritised as we build up to full check rates and high levels of compliance. Taking a pragmatic approach to introducing our new border checks minimises disruption, protects our biosecurity and benefits everyone – especially traders.

“There has been extensive engagement with businesses over the past year – with our approach welcomed by several trade associations and port authorities. We will continue to work with and support businesses throughout this process to maintain the smooth flow of imported goods.

“We are confident we have sufficient capacity and capability across all points of entry to handle the volume and type of expected checks. It is important to remember the cost of our border checks is negligible compared to the impact of a major disease outbreak on our economy and farmers.”

Our approach ensures we are striking the appropriate balance between protecting the UK from biosecurity risks and facilitating trade. We will continually review our enforcement approach tracking compliance levels to protect biosecurity and food safety whilst minimising disruption to trade flows.  Our enforcement approach will be graduated to help traders to comply.

This follows extensive engagement with businesses – including regularly contacting 30,000 importers with up-to-date information, delivering over 50 webinars to thousands of businesses, working with major supermarkets and their suppliers to provide training, alongside working with HMRC to deliver communication to all VAT registered businesses in the UK (approximately 150,000 businesses).