Brexit could lead to checkpoints at Scotland-England border, claims new report

Checkpoints might be needed at the England-Scotland border if different regional food regulations come into force across the UK after Britain’s exit from the European Union, according to academics.

Monday, 11th November 2019, 3:37 pm
The Scotland-England border at Carter Bar.

A report by Sussex University’s UK trade policy observatory warns that Brexit food safety legislation could give UK Government ministers powers to change food safety laws without primary legislation being passed by Parliament.

The study highlights the potential for different regional food regulations being created by the UK Government and devolved authorities if Brexit opens up the door to the sale of chlorinated chicken and genetically-modified crops.

Brexit-related statutory instruments could confer powers to amend and or come up with future food safety laws to ministers for England, Wales and Scotland, it reports.

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Such a turn of events could see Scottish and Welsh ministers commit to retain EU food safety regulations, leading to trade barriers going up between England and its neighbours to the north and west and physical checkpoints being required at border crossings such as Carter Bar.

Emily Lydgate, a senior lecturer in environmental law at the Brighton-based university, said: “Food safety statutory instruments are a potential flashpoint 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.

“If one or more devolved administrations refuse to realign their 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.”