Border Control Post (BCPs) inspection fees, paid by importers to inspect consignments of live fish when they enter the UK, are due to rise on 1 July 2023, with a further rise planned 12 months later.

For live fish and aquatic animals fees will rise on 1 July this year from £32 to £48 a consignment for BCP inspections. But it is the out-of-hours charges for vets that are disproportionally high, going from £140 to £261 (£185 to £346 during a weekend or a public holiday).

In a letter to APHA about the new fee structure OATA has asked for the fees to be reviewed.

“It is our view that the proposed increases in charges will generate profit for APHA, cause logistical issues at the border, and will unfairly target our sector. The changes to the fee structure represent yet another barrier to already struggling businesses, despite government promises to encourage growth and support business during a period of significant economic upheaval. We urge that the proposed changes to inspection fees for live animals be reviewed and reconsidered in order to reduce adverse impacts on businesses, consumers, border staff and animal welfare at the border.”

Out-of-hours fees are regularly paid by a number of importers which means APHA could charge as much as four fees for one vet to clear consignments at the same time. OATA has estimated that with the new rate of £261 per consignment, industry could be paying £1,044 for under two hours of work (at least £522 per hour) despite inspectors already being on site.

“This is clearly unacceptable,” says OATA Chief Executive Dominic Whitmee. “The Government’s fiscal rules say fees cannot make a profit, they should be set to only cover costs, but our estimates of more than £1,000 for two hours’ work by one vet can only amount to profit-making by APHA.”

Read OATA’s letter sent to APHA here.