Portsmouth port sees border control post works underway despite government funding shortfall on 'critical' project
UPGRADES to the city’s port have reached an important milestone as a border control post – a source of tension between the council and the government – takes shape.
Works are underway to to build Portsmouth International Port’s Border Control Post (BCP), which will create more than 100 new jobs to deal with changing customs and health checks following Brexit.
New purpose built facilities, which meet DEFRA specification for checking plant and products of animal origin, will include inspection rooms and refrigerated units for chilled and frozen products.
But the post will not include a live animal health check facility due to a funding shortfall.
It follows the council bidding for £32 million to help finish the project, but the local authority was only awarded £17m – leaving a £8m shortfall for the works.
Mike Sellers, Portsmouth International Port director, said: ‘The whole team is working incredibly hard to transform port operations from next year.
‘We’d like to thank the government for recognising the country's second busiest cross channel port, and providing vital financial support needed to implement fundamental changes.
‘Our contractors are underway on this huge development project and you'll start to see the BCP taking shape.’
‘Due to a shortfall in funding we regretfully have not been able to support a live animal health check facility, necessary to check the welfare of UK animals used for breeding in the EU, however If required our construction plans would be ready to go should further funds become available.’
The council will have to stump up some funding even though the ‘critical’ project is the result of government decision making, according to council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘We have long since made the case the port needs to be considered when it comes to government support and this funding will support job creation and provide a much needed boost for the city as we come out of this pandemic and prepare for how we manage goods in this country.
‘However the cost of the BCP exceeds the amount given by government, so even though this is a government decision the council will have to fund the shortfall as this infrastructure is critical to the port's import trade.’
Enabling works on the site began in March and construction remains on track to completed by January 2022, according to the port director.