Border Target Operating Model launched

The following article is reproduced from a Defra communication:


The UK Government has today, 29 August, published a new Border Target Operating Model (BTOM), setting out new controls to create a world-class border system based on smarter use of data and technology. The model has been developed in collaboration with the Scottish and Welsh Governments to implement a coherent approach.   

The BTOM has been developed following extensive engagement with the border industry and businesses across the UK. It incorporates feedback from the draft BTOM which was published in April 2023.  

The new model will use data and technology to implement an intelligent, risk-based approach to border controls that works best for the UK. This approach will remove duplication and reduce the volume of data and paperwork that businesses need to provide when importing goods. It will see biosecurity and safety and security controls introduced on imports from the EU for the first time, while simplifying existing import controls on goods from the rest of the world. 

The BTOM continues the phased approach of biosecurity controls to the import regime of plants and plant products. If you import certain plants and plant products from the EU to GB, you need to start preparing for the new plant health import requirements coming into force from January 2024 and April 2024. 

The TOM risk categories have been published for imports from the EU and will be categorised for Rest of World (ROW) goods shortly. 

Key dates for the continued phased approach of biosecurity controls

From 31 January 2024: 

  • All imports of medium-risk plants and plant products will need to have a Phytosanitary Certificate (PC) upon entry. 
  • All imports of medium risk-plants and plant products from the Republic of Ireland (ROI) will require pre-notification on IPAFFS.   
  • Low-risk goods from the EU will be exempt from systematic controls at the border and so will not require a phytosanitary certificate or pre-notification. This includes most fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Instead, they will be subject to enhanced inland monitoring via surveillance at the most appropriate locations and times, and evidence-led visits to premises by plant health inspectors.  

From 30 April 2024: 

  • High-risk plants and plant products must come through a Border Control Post (BCP) or Control Point (CP) where identity and physical checks will be carried out. Checks will no longer take place at Places of Destination (PoDs). 
  • Documentary checks and physical and identity checks at the border will be introduced for medium-risk goods imported from the EU. In line with the reduced frequency of checks, checks will have a baseline of 3% for EU imports and 5% for non-EU imports, but may be different in specific cases, where additional risk factors apply. 
  • The UK Government will also begin to simplify imports from non-EU countries - this will include the removal of health certification and routine checks on low-risk plants and plant products from non-EU countries. 

What do you need to do? 

If you are a GB importer: 

  • Work with your EU exporters to be ready for the incoming certification requirements from 31 January 2024 for medium-risk goods 
  • Find an appropriate BCP and start planning your route for the SPS check changes for high-risk goods coming into force from 30 April 2024. Alternatively, consider becoming CP designated and have your checks done on-site.  

If you are an EU exporter: 

  • Contact the competent authority in your country to find a local plant health inspector to be prepared for the certification requirements coming into force from 31 January 2024 for medium-risk goods  
  • Work with your GB importers to decide the best route of entry for the exported high-risk goods  

Next steps: