Colin Smyth MSP
South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Rural Affairs Spokesperson Colin Smyth has commented on the publication of a contract notice for the creation of an inland border facility at Cairnryan.
In February, the Scottish Government started work on creating a border control post at Cairnryan and laid out a Special Development Order.
The Scottish Government said Cairnryan BCP would 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.
This week a contract notice was published with an estimated £30m cost.
Colin Smyth said: “These plans for a border control are the predictable consequence of brexit and the fact we now have a border between Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“The buck for this lies with the UK Government who signed up to the Northern Ireland protocol which means that when the six month grace period finishes at the end of this month, businesses here in Scotland will find it incredibly difficult to export products such as meat and dairy to Northern Ireland.
“The agreement means there is effectively no border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, so many businesses in Northern Ireland will simply stop importing products from businesses here Scotland because it will be easier to get them from the Republic of Ireland.
“Even those businesses who continue to export from Scotland to Northern Ireland face a mountain of new bureaucracy, hence the possible need for this new £30m border control.
“It’s ironic that we have been fighting for investment in infrastructure for the Stranraer area for years from the Scottish Government and they have failed to come up with funding to regenerate the Stranraer Waterfront yet all of a sudden they find £30m.
“If this goes ahead, it is vital that the right location is chosen. Earlier this year Dumfries and Galloway Council wrote to the then Constitution Secretary asking that any border control post be situated in Stranraer at the former Stena port. They argued that it was still close to the ferry ports in Cairnryan but would have the added advantage of being close to local businesses and services in Stranraer. There is existing infrastructure in place and it could play a small part in improving the former ferry terminal site in the town.
“I will continue to press the Scottish Government to consult the community to ensure the best location is selected.”