It was made clear at the start that notwithstanding EU checks on UK movements into the single market, Britain would delay its implementation of checks.

Have they now begun?

If not will it cause yet further supply disruption once they begin? And does HMRC have enough staff to administer the controls?

For the purposes of this question please ignore the peculiar circumstances relating to Northern Ireland.

2 Answers 2


No import checks on EU goods have not begun.

The government's original plan was to introduce border checks on EU imports when the post-Brexit transition period expired at the end of 2020. In June that year it said these checks would be phased in, and then last March announced a further delay of several months.

Yes, it will cause further disruption when they being as that disruption is the reason given for delaying them.

The UK announced on Tuesday it will again delay border checks on goods coming from the EU until next year, citing supply chain issues.

Britain's Cabinet office said in a statement that the "revised timetable will give businesses more time to adjust to new processes".

The National Audit Office report of 6th November 2020 mention recruitment is still required in several places including this specifically for Border Force transit checks. Although this is nearly a year old, I can't find anything more recent.

Border Force also needs to recruit, train and deploy staff to undertake checks on transit documentation.


No, the implementation of some checks which would have taken place on October 1st 2021 has been delayed, and some checks have been delayed from January 2022 to July 2022, as announced to the Commons by Government Minister Penny Mordaunt on September 14th. However, the timetable for the removal of the current easements on checks is currently unchanged.

  • The requirement for pre-notification of agri-food imports will be introduced on 1 January 2022 as opposed to 1 October 2021. The new requirements for Export Health Certificates, which were due to be introduced on 1 October 2021, will now be introduced on 1 July 2022.
  • Phytosanitary Certificates and physical checks on SPS goods at Border Control Posts, due to be introduced on 1 January 2022, will now be introduced on 1 July 2022.
  • The requirement for Safety and Security declarations on imports will be introduced as of 1 July 2022 as opposed to 1 January 2022.

The timetable for the removal of the current easements in relation to full customs controls and the introduction of customs checks remains unchanged from the planned 1 January 2022.

The reason given for this delay was to reduce pressure on businesses while they recover from the pandemic, so the government acknowledges that the implementation of checks will cause disruption:

The pandemic has had longer-lasting impacts on businesses, both in the UK and in the European Union, than many observers expected in March. There are also pressures on global supply chains, caused by a wide range of factors including the pandemic and the increased costs of global freight transport. These pressures are being especially felt in the agrifood sector.

In these circumstances, the Government has decided to delay further some elements of the new controls, especially those relating to Sanitary and Phytosanitary goods.

Although, at least according to the government’s statement, HMRC is fully prepared to implement checks:

The Government’s own preparations, in terms of systems, infrastructure and resourcing, remain on track to meet that timetable.

  • And is that the official view of HM Government?
    – WS2
    Oct 4, 2021 at 18:13
  • @WS2 yes, the statement was made to the Commons by Penny Mordaunt, and to the Lords by Lord Frost.
    – CDJB
    Oct 4, 2021 at 18:18
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – JJJ
    Oct 4, 2021 at 19:49

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