Document details new Irish Sea customs checks that Boris Johnson promised would never happen

Anyone moving goods into Northern Ireland will have to complete new customs forms after Brexit; Phot

Anyone moving goods into Northern Ireland will have to complete new customs forms after Brexit; Photograph by David Goddard/Getty Images) - Credit: Getty Images

A leaked government document has detailed the new customs checks will be in place in the Irish Sea after Brexit, despite promises from Boris Johnson that they would never happen.

In a secret dossier from HMRC, seen by The Guardian, hauliers will now have to submit new paper work to transport goods from mainland Britain into Northern Ireland as part of post-Brexit customs arrangements.

This includes the pre-lodging of three new electronic forms in order to pass customs, security, and transit checks.


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Prime minister Johnson has repeatedly vowed that there would be no new check points in the Irish Sea after Brexit, however, this latest documents seems to undermine those claims.

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In the 11-page report, HMRC said that in order to achieve customs control 'we need to ensure that all goods are presented and declared to customs'.

Trade from Northern Ireland towards the UK will largely remain check-free while some products coming from the mainland into the region will be subject to 'procedures relating to specific international obligations' which bind the UK and EU. This will apply on the transport of endangered species and where traders want to use special procedures, like suspending payment on duties.

Goods going from Britain to Northern Ireland will be treated as exports, but they will remain inside the UK market - an amendment in the Withdrawal Agreement aimed at avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.

Under the arrangements, suppliers must submit an import declaration form setting out the customs code for all the goods being transported to Northern Irish ports.

The second document is a safety and security declaration, which is currently waived for all goods sold inside the single market.

Companies will then be obliged to provide their hauliers with a transit accompanying document (TAD) which must remain with the vehicle at all times so the EU can verify the load that departs Britain is the same one that arrives at European trading hubs.

Transport companies will need to fill out the forms regardless of whether a Brexit deal is clenched between the UK and the EU by December 31.

It was recently revealed that lorry companies will also need the permission of the tax department before crossing into Europe after Brexit.

Northern Ireland business leaders had pleaded with the government for more details on the new scheme since October but were rebuffed by the prime minister who promised that there would be no check in the Irish Sea.

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