Charging arrangements at government-run Border Control Posts

Closed 9 Jul 2023

Opened 12 Jun 2023


Defra has developed a charging model to recover operating costs for government-run border control posts (BCPs) in England ahead of planned implementation of SPS checks on EU imports in January 2024. The legal basis for charging is Article 81(b) of the retained Official Control Regulations (OCR).

Defra proposes administering a single Common User Charge: a flat rate levied on every SPS consignment (Plants and Plant Products (P&PP) and Animal Products) which is eligible for BCP checks and enters through the Port of Dover or Eurotunnel Le Shuttle, whether selected for a check or not. This does not include goods arriving as rail freight via the Channel Tunnel, or personal imports arriving on the Eurostar and Dover Ferry passenger services as these goods will not be subject to SPS checks at a BCP. Imports of live animals will not have charges applied until they are subject to checks at a BCP, scheduled for late 2024.  The Common User Charge approach flattens the rates, spreads the burden, and provides a high level of certainty to importers. These charges are intended to recover the costs of operating the BCP facilities as set out in Article 81(b) of the retained OCR which are necessary to undertake physical inspections. This charge would be separate to any charges applied by the Port Health Authority and Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) for inspections. The Common User Charge also does not include charges applied by other government agencies for activities outside of the BCP, such as any customs checks.

Biosecurity and SPS controls are devolved to the Welsh and Scottish Governments. We are working closely with the Welsh and Scottish Governments on the delivery of Inland Sites in Wales and Scotland.  This consultation focuses on BCP charges for government-run facilities in England, however the Common User Charge may be extended to include other government-run facilities across Great Britain once infrastructure plans are finalised. Defra will discuss the issues and key findings raised in this consultation with the Welsh and Scottish Governments.

The Common User Charge will only be applied to government-run BCPs and it is up to commercial ports to determine their own charging structure and rates.

This consultation seeks the views and expertise of stakeholders to help inform and develop a fair and proportionate approach to BCP charging at government-run BCPs. The objectives of the consultation, which is being carried out under Article 85(3) of the retained Official Controls Regulation (2017/625), are to:

  • Consult on Defra’s intention to administer a single Common User Charge for eligible SPS consignments at government-run BCPs serving the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel Le Shuttle; 
  • Seek views on the principles, methodology and indicative rates to determine fair and reasonable charges; and
  • Obtain feedback from stakeholders and users in the form of evidenced examples to demonstrate any potential impacts and implications of the introduction of these charges. 

We would welcome responses from: 

  • All UK ports, international rail facilities and airports including:
    • Those which have existing BCP facilities;
    • Those which have received government grants through the Port Infrastructure Fund towards the cost of building infrastructure and facilities to enable the necessary customs and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks to be carried out following the end of the transition period; and
    • Those supported by government-run border facilities. 
  • Stakeholders associated with the port industry including Port Health Authorities, ferry operators, logistics, haulage and customs intermediary firms, industry associations and representative bodies, and those who support others to move goods through cross-border supply chains;
  • UK businesses of all sizes who trade SPS goods across the UK border, or who are considering doing so; and
  • International businesses of all sizes who trade SPS goods across the UK border, or who are considering doing so.

We are primarily seeking the views of those who may be affected by the introduction of BCP charges associated with the checking of imported goods for SPS purposes. We are therefore not seeking views from individual travellers or commuters who move across the border for leisure or business purposes who will be unaffected by these proposals. We are keen to hear from stakeholders in all parts of the UK.  

What happens next

We will be carefully reviewing all responses to the consultation taking into account views expressed, as well as any additional information provided which will be used to further refine proposals and inform the impact assessment. A summary of responses is due to be published on the website following the consultation.

Following the consultation relevant Ministers from Defra will make the final decision on any legislative changes, taking into account responses received.

Before implementing the Common User Charge, we will publish a detailed breakdown of operating costs at government-run BCPs, and the final charging rates. This will provide further clarity and assurance on the Common User Charge and will help stakeholders understand the potential impacts of this charge on their operations.

What will happen with the responses?

The objective of this engagement will be to test the draft model and capture insight. The insights from stakeholders, both through the online portal and at stakeholder engagement events, will be used to test our assumptions about the Border Target Operating Model and will be used to refine our proposals before a final version of the model is published in the Spring.


  • Charities/Voluntary Organisations
  • AWBs
  • Environmental campaigners
  • Animal welfare campaigners
  • Trade Unions
  • Employment Agencies
  • Food Business Operators
  • Licensed Gangmasters
  • Food Industry
  • Vets
  • Operators of animal gatherings
  • Abattoir Operator
  • Livestock show ground operators
  • Manufacturers of livestock identifiers
  • All Marine Users
  • Government Departments
  • Government Agencies
  • Devolved Administrations
  • Coastal Members of Parliament
  • Coastal local authorities
  • National Park Authorities
  • Recreation sector
  • Coastal Management sector
  • Aggregates sector
  • Energy sector
  • Industries and professional services
  • Ports and Harbour Authorities and Estuaries
  • Water/water Industry sector
  • IFCAs
  • Angling Organisations and Trade
  • Fishing Focus individual recipients
  • Water Abstractors
  • Environmental professional services
  • Estate Agents
  • House Building Industry
  • Property Management
  • Legal and Conveyancing Professions
  • Households
  • Local Authorities
  • Non-Household Customers
  • Consumer Groups
  • Commercial Fisheries Organisations
  • Fisheries Producer Organisations
  • Waste Producers and Handlers
  • Business/Private Sector
  • Policy Teams
  • Pet Owners
  • Pet Interest Groups
  • Pet Carriers
  • Transport Organisations
  • Veterinarians
  • Local Authorities
  • Producer Compliance Schemes
  • WEEE Treatment Facilities
  • Waste Management Companies
  • Electrical re-use organisations
  • All Defra staff and ALBs
  • Non-Government Organisation
  • Retail Industry
  • Manufacturing Industry
  • Member of the General Public
  • Landowners and their representative bodies
  • Walkers
  • Horse riders
  • Families
  • Students
  • Farmers
  • Fishermen
  • SME businesses
  • Energy suppliers
  • Water suppliers
  • Leisure industry
  • Tourism industry
  • Insurance industry
  • Horticulture Industry
  • Shellfish Cultivators
  • Tenant Farmers
  • Agricultural Landlords
  • Agricultural Valuers
  • Land Agents
  • Trading Standards Officers
  • Environmental Health Officers
  • Professional and Membership Organisations/Agencies
  • Public Bodies
  • Consultants
  • Beach Users
  • Stakeholders


  • Food labelling
  • Food standards
  • Egg industry
  • Poultry industry
  • Dairy industry
  • Wine industry
  • Protected food names
  • Food imports
  • Food and drink exports
  • Cattle
  • Pigs
  • Poultry
  • Sheep and goats
  • Animal diseases
  • Animal welfare
  • Livestock identification and movement
  • Growing and crops
  • Bee health
  • Peat
  • Marine fisheries
  • Farm management
  • Single Payment Scheme (SPS)
  • Cross compliance
  • Common Agricultural Reform (CAP)
  • Skills, education, training and new entrants
  • Land management
  • Nitrates and watercourses
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Uplands
  • Soil
  • Shellfish
  • Forestry
  • Retailers
  • Livestock disease control
  • Sheep, goat and deer production/marketing
  • Meat Industry