Site to be used for post-Brexit import inspections.
Ministers are preparing for a new Border Control Post to be created at Cairnryan in Dumfries and Galloway.
To help deliver this plan, a Special Development Order (SDO) has been laid in the Scottish Parliament - a statutory instrument which will help ensure that planning permission is in place for this vital infrastructure.
Because of the terms of the Brexit deal negotiated by the UK Government some goods entering the UK from the EU are now subject to the same border entry requirement and controls as goods from the rest of the world, with further controls on imports from the EU being introduced in phases this year.
As a result, Border Control Posts (BCPs), at which imported goods are subjected to physical inspections, are being established across the UK.
The Cairnryan BCP will be used to inspect goods arriving in Scotland from the Republic of Ireland and the wider EU via Northern Ireland, and the UK Government require that it is established in the second half of 2021.
Checks on animals, fish, plants, food and feed are required to ensure products entering the market do not present a risk to public health, and these checks are the responsibility of Scottish Ministers.
Once an appropriate site has been selected, a site-specific planning consent will have to be obtained before construction can get underway, and the SDO requires engagement to be carried out with various parties before this approval can be sought.
Cabinet Secretary Michael Russell said:
“This move is a direct consequence of a Brexit that people in Scotland overwhelmingly rejected. In these circumstances it is a practical, common sense and timely action to provides additional planning certainty while detailed proposals are developed and a site for this post is selected.
“Time is of the essence. I have twice written to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to press for a decision on the need for this post, but it was only in January that the UK Government confirmed checks would be required on non-qualifying Northern Ireland Goods at Cairnryan.
“We are also still waiting to hear whether HMRC would like to use the site for their responsibilities.
“But by laying this SDO, the Scottish Government, for its own part, is preparing to move as speedily and effectively as it can.”
The Special Development Order can be read online
Using an SDO is a contingency measure to ensure that the project can proceed at pace and save time in the planning process should this become a critical factor.
It does not rule out the option of planning permission being sought through an application submitted to Dumfries and Galloway Council following the normal procedures.
2.59 million tonnes of freight entered the ports at Cairnryan and Lochryan in 2019, which equates to approximately 400,000 freight movements.
An alternative route for these goods would need to be found if a BCP at Cairnryan is not provided.
Subject to Parliamentary approval, the SDO will come into force on 25 March.
Should the Scottish Government require to use the permissions under the SDO, it plans to include a period of consultation with the local community.
It will continue to engage with stakeholders regarding the SDO, including the Local Authority, D&G Council and statutory environmental bodies, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, NatureScot and Historic Environment Scotland.
As the nature and scale of the activities required at the facility become clearer, and the suitability of selected potential sites are considered, the cost of the BCP will be refined.