Work on a new site for post-Brexit import inspections in Dumfries and Galloway has been paused due to a “lack of clarity” from the UK Government.
The Scottish Government announced the decision on Friday to pause the building of a Border Control Post (BCP) in Cairnryan until being given answers over the “requirements for the facility and the financial position”.
Preparations to build the site were put forward in February this year, with a special development order (SDO) laid at Holyrood to allow the work to be undertaken.
The port is required as following Brexit, goods entering the UK from the EU are subject to the same border entry requirement and controls as goods from the rest of the world.
It is one of a number of ports that are being established across the UK.
Scotland’s rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon said the UK Government has “declined” to provide the Scottish Government with necessary assurances over the site.
“As a responsible government, the Scottish Government started work last autumn to build a BCP to apply devolved controls, protecting human, animal and plant health, on EU goods arriving into Scotland through the Loch Ryan ferry routes from Belfast and Larne,” she said.
“Over the past few months, we have sought assurances from the UK Government regarding the funding for the Cairnryan BCP, which is required to be built as a direct result of EU Exit and the effect of its approach to guaranteeing access for Northern Ireland goods to the market in Great Britain on transiting EU goods.
“We are pressing the UK Government to cover the costs of the border facility including the BCP under its EU-Exit commitments. The UK Government has declined to provide us with the necessary assurances.”
Gougeon explained that the Scottish Government will continue to engage with UK Government departments over the development.
She continued: “With some major uncertainties to be resolved that are not within the control of the Scottish Government, we have made the decision to pause elements of this project until we are in a position to proceed with confidence in the requirements and the financial position.
“We will continue to engage with all UK Government departments to ensure that the development of Cairnryan BCP can resume at pace in due course but we need to have clarity on this.
“We have advised Dumfries and Galloway Council of the situation and will continue to work closely with them and engage with the local community in due course.”