UK ports are threatening Westminster with legal action unless they are compensated for the millions they have spent building new border control facilities that may never be used.
Ports across the UK have built border control posts designed to carry out the post-Brexit physical spot checks on European plant and animal products (fruit, veg, meat, fish, cheese and timber) that were due to come into force from 1 July 2022.
But last April the UK government announced that these new UK-EU post-Brexit border control rules would be put on hold until at least the end of next year amid concerns about the cost-of-living crisis.
The UK’s second busiest cross-Channel Portsmouth has said that its £25m temperature-controlled border control post was finished on time for the July deadline and is ready to go, but the state-of-the-art new facility to be staffed by 67 officials is currently standing empty and may never be used.
Portsmouth Port is owned by Portsmouth City Council and the new facility’s ongoing operating costs are causing a serious drain on resources and forcing the council to cut other local services.
Consequently, Portsmouth City Council is looking at taking legal action against the government alongside other ports.