I am writing to you, as Chair of the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, to inform you that the Town and Country Planning (Border Facilities and Infrastructure) (EU Exit) (England) Special Development Order 2020 was laid on the 3 September and will come into force on 24 September.
On 31 December 2020 the transition period with the European Union will end and the United Kingdom will operate our border as a sovereign nation once again.
Border controls for EU goods imported into Great Britain will be introduced from 1 January 2021. The Special Development Order is an important component of the Government’s preparations to enable an orderly transition to the new system of controls.
Port operators would normally provide these new border facilities, however, where there is limited space at some ports or where the impact of coronavirus may have affected the ability of port operators to provide the necessary infrastructure, the Government has committed to building some new inland sites where these checks will take place.
The Special Development Order grants temporary planning permission for the development of border facilities and associated infrastructure in specified administrative areas of England either close to the ports or with access to the strategic road network serving those ports with relevant EU trade.
Final decisions on inland sites will not be made until my Ministerial colleagues in the border facing departments have established the extent of new infrastructure that will be delivered at ports. Where the need for an inland site is identified, it is a condition of the temporary planning permission that the relevant department must seek my approval before development can start. They must have carried out substantive local engagement ahead of seeking such approval. I will be considering each proposal independently, advised by my officials.
As either I or a member of my Ministerial team will make decisions on site specific proposals it is not appropriate for us to comment on potential sites that may be the subject of a proposal; we will take decisions without pre-determination and on the basis of the evidence and advice in front of us. My officials will, however, be happy to respond to any queries you may have about the legislation.
7 September 2020