Question to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that (a) border inspection teams and (b) port authorities are fully-staffed ahead of the implementation of import checks on food products arriving from the EU.
Following the decision to delay implementing new SPS controls on EU-GB imports of animal products, Defra agreed to fund up to 150 staff for Port Health Authorities through the Port Health Transition Fund. This funding was extended, confirming funding for existing staff at PHAs for the financial year 2023/2024, allowing retention of capacity and skills for delivery of the BTOM as well as continuing the ongoing work on managing biosecurity risks, (e.g., African Swine Fever). Following the publication of the final BTOM, we will continue to work with both APHA and PHAs to agree resourcing plans to deliver the proposed controls and develop a clear and consistent understanding across PHAs and APHA as to how the new controls should be implemented.