Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs to outline the progress his Department has made in securing the relevant lease agreements for suitable site locations for points of entry facilities before the end of the transition period.
Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs: After a period of intensive work on the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Operational Delivery Programme, specific sites have now been identified for each port Point of Entry. As part of the work required to secure access to these sites, the DAERA Programme Team has been in negotiations with those ports through Land and Property Services and DSO Commercial to secure the relevant lease agreements. These negotiations are at an advanced stage with the ports, and the team is intending to resolve final issues in the coming weeks.
You will also be aware that it is not possible to have the full facilities in place at each Point of Entry by 31 December 2020. In response to this DAERA have initiated contingency plans to have a level of facilities in place for the 31 December 2020, thus allowing goods requiring SPS checks to move though our ports into Northern Ireland. This will allow me to ensure Food Supply Security is maintained for Northern Ireland. To achieve this DAERA have also engaged Land and Property Services and DSO Commercial to secure the relevant short term licence agreements for the contingency work at each of the ports.