UK and European trade bodies criticise introduction of BTOM

The UK’s Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) and a number of trade bodies from the same sector across the EU have published an open letter arguing the need for reconsideration of the measures making up the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM).

This came into force at the borders of Great Britain on 30 April and has already been the subject of protests at the costs and checks involved.

The new letter, which can be found here, includes detailed examples of the costs being incurred by small businesses trying to move plants and plant products across borders.

Highlighting that the UK has a unique border with the EU in terms of trading plants and plant products, the letter points out: “Nowhere else in the world is there a border that sees such a volume of plants and plant products traded between countries that do not have a form of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) arrangement, recognition, or agreement”

With delays being experienced at the border control posts, the letter also warns of problems relating to driver welfare. Drivers are now unwilling to bring goods across the border due to long hours spent waiting on docksides and poor driver welfare, it states.

Welfare should be addressed at all ports, the letter goes on, as welfare facilities are inadequate and vary according to port.

Citing deep concerns about the detrimental impact of the UK’s border policy on horticulture, the HTA and six European trade groups ask the incoming Government for engagement and action on costs, systems, data and plans.

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