Brexit could necessitate food checks at Scottish borders warns University of Sussex

Scottish borders
(donsimon /

Brexit could create regional standards in food safety that could lead to border posts at the Scottish borders warns the University of Sussex’s UK Trade Policy Observatory. Anna Tobin investigates

Analysis by the UK Trade Policy Observatory warns of the potential for different regional food regulations being created by the UK government and devolved authorities if Brexit opens up the UK to the sale of chlorinated chicken and GM crops. These regional discrepancies could also have a detrimental  impact on the UK’s ability to strike trade deals.

The study warns that Brexit food safety legislation could give UK ministers powers to make policy changes to food safety laws without primary legislation being passed through Parliament through the use of Statutory Instruments (SIs). These Brexit SIs could confer powers to amend and make future food safety laws to UK Government ministers for England, Welsh ministers for Wales and Scottish ministers for Scotland.

The report highlights the possiblity of Scottish and Welsh authorities committing to retain EU food safety regulations leading to trade barriers going up between between the English, Welsh and Scottish borders.

“Food safety SIs are a potential flash-point for Scotland, which wants to maintain alignment with the EU, and Westminster which promises to pursue a US trade deal that will alter UK food safety legislation,” remarked Dr Lydgate, senior lecturer in environmental law at the University of Sussex.

“If one or more devolved administrations refuses to re-align its food safety regulations from those of the EU to comply with US standards, after a US-UK Free Trade Agreement, it will complicate the flows of agricultural and food products within the UK. This raises the question of how the UK can avoid introducing internal UK regulatory controls and border checks to ensure that products comply with divergent jurisdictional requirements.”

The full briefing can be read here.

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