Up to 21 new Port Health Authority jobs are advertised in Hull, despite reports of a potential further delay in the introduction of new post-Brexit border controls.
The recruitment campaign launched this week by the Hull and Goole Port Health Authority aims to double its staff to be able to cope with the inspection of food imports entering Britain from the European Union. A new system of physical checks is due to start on July 1.
However, the government is reported to be exploring the possibility of further delay in implementing the new regime, which has also required the construction of a new multi-million pound border checkpoint at King George Dock in Hull. Checks were first delayed in June 2020, followed by further delay extensions in March and September of last year.
Read more: P&O Pride of Hull ferry can navigate safely with passengers and cargo, maritime authorities confirm
Prior to Brexit, controls on food imports from EU states were not required under frictionless border trade regulations. Between them, the ports of Hull and Killingholme, which are covered by the Port Health Authority, typically handle nearly 150 million kilos of imported food from the EU a year.
Laurence Dettman, the authority’s chief port health inspector, said: “Despite repeated delays, I am pleased with the progress made towards our border preparedness. However, the coming months will be crucial in meeting the expectations of the government, traders and consumers”.
New jobs advertised at the Hessle Road-based authority include 20 Port Health Support Officers on a salary range of between £23,484 and £25,927 depending on experience. A new port health inspector job is also advertised with an annual salary of between £33,486 and £36,371.
Mr Dettman said current staff were receiving extensive training on the new inspection regime while a new seven-day-a-week shift had been established to cope with the expected huge increase in the workload of authority. He said weekly data on new EU-UK pre-notifications of imported food products introduced in January showed “huge volumes” of relevant shipments from the Continent.
He said: “While we remain under unprecedented pressure, our preparations are accelerating rapidly and I remain cautiously optimistic that our excellent and expanding team will be ready for the challenges ahead. We are seizing the opportunity, ahead of the full implementation of EU import controls, to increase our contact and liaison with traders to help them understand and support compliance with the new requirements.”
As well as the new officers, the authority has also contracted with a leading veterinary agency to provide veterinary cover for the new health checks required on livestock imported via Hull and Killingholme. Importers will be charged an inspection fee by the authority.
From July 1, all food imports from the EU will have to enter the UK through the new border checkpoints. In addition to the one in Hull, a second new facility was built in Killingholme.
Physical and certification checks on EU dairy products have been postponed until September, while similar checks on EU fish products are due to start in October. Border checks on imports from the UK began in most EU countries immediately after the end of the transition period covering the UK’s exit from the EU in January 2020.
Reports that the July 1 date has been pushed back emerged again this week amid fresh warnings from food industry chiefs about the impact of the new inspection regime on EU food imports. Shane Brennan, chief executive of the Cold Chain Federation, said the introduction of full veterinary checks on food imports would lead to “a supply collapse” for UK businesses that depend on frequent deliveries of fresh food from the UK. EU.
Speaking on the current situation with P&O Ferries, Mr Dettman said: “As long as they continue to operate and carry freight, it will not impact the authority. We are also responsible for the enforcement of food safety legislation on ferries. Both ferries currently have a food hygiene rating of five and are due for inspection in the coming weeks, so we hope they can maintain the high standards achieved.”
To get the latest fuel price news straight to your inbox, Click here