EU Exit – Some border changes delayed

Date : 14 September 2021

The UK’s departure from the EU requires some change in the way that agri-food imports from the EU are managed.

Phase 1 of these changes – impacting alcohol, tobacco, live animals and certain High Risk plants – was implemented in January 2021.

Phases 2 and 3 of the new border controls on agri-food goods were due to occur on 01 October 2021 and 01 January 2022 respectively (timing was changed in an announcement made in March 2021).

The government has now issued a statement specifying that some elements – but, critically, not all – of this process will now be further delayed.

This change is due to concern that businesses in the agri-food sector are struggling to cope with other operational issues (eg: HGV driver shortages) and lack capacity to implement new activities.

Officials have emphasised that UK governmental and administrative readiness is high.

Key changes are as follows (abbreviations explained at bottom of article):

(abbreviations at bottom)
Previous timing New timing
Phase 2
Import of POAO, ABP and HRFNAO to be pre-notified via IPAFFS 01 Oct 2021 01 Jan 2022
Imports to be accompanied by an appropriate EHC 01 Oct 2021 01 Jul 2022
Customs declarations must be made for every shipment, delays of up to 178 days accepted 01 Oct 2021 01 Oct 2021
Phase 3
POAO, ABP, HRFNAO and High-Risk Plants will be subject to physical checks at the UK border and must arrive at locations with a suitable Border Control Post 01 Jan 2022 01 Jul 2022
Imports of Low-Risk Plants and Plant Products must be pre-notified via IPAFFS and accompanied by a Phyto Sanitary Certificate 01 Jan 2022 01 Jan 2022 (no change)
Customs declarations must be submitted without delay, although some traders may be eligible to defer payments 01 Jan 2022 01 Jan 2022 (no change)
Safety and security declarations must be made for all goods 01 Jan 2022 01 Jul 2022

Note that these changes affect primarily the safety and specification of goods, not the levying of customs and taxes – the customs part of the border programme remains little unchanged.

Also note that this announcement does not affect movement of goods between GB and NI – this is governed by the Northern Ireland Protocol, a separate body of work which is also under development.


  • ABP – Animal by-products
  • EHC – Export health certificate
  • HRFNAO – High risk food not of animal origin
  • IPAFFS - Import of products, animals, food and feed System
  • POAO – Products of animal origin

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