Applying to set up a border control post at your port or airport

How to set up a border control post to receive animals, animal products, plants, plant products and wood.

Maritime ports and airports must be designated as border control posts (BCPs) to receive imports of certain animal and plant goods from EU and non-EU countries.

BCPs are designated by competent authorities in Great Britain. The competent authority in England is:

  • Defra for live animals, animal products, plants, plant products and wood
  • Food Standards Agency for high risk food or feed of non-animal origin subject to an increased level of controls at BCPs

The competent authority is:

  • Food Standards Scotland or the Scottish Government in Scotland
  • the Welsh Government in Wales

Check BCP requirements

The BCP must meet certain requirements to be designated by the competent authority. For example, the BCP must:

  • have enough suitably qualified staff
  • be suitable for the type of volume of animals and goods the BCP will handle
  • have the equipment to carry out checks that are needed, including IT equipment
  • have access to official laboratories
  • have arrangements in place to prevent cross contamination
  • comply with biosecurity standards

These requirements are set out in Article 64(3) of Regulation (EU) 2017/625 on official controls (OCR).

To comply with biosecurity standards, your BCP must also meet requirements for:

  • unloading areas
  • inspection rooms/areas
  • storage facilities
  • changing rooms

These requirements are set out in Commission Regulation 2019/1014.

The competent authority will withdraw or suspend the BCP designation when a BCP:

  • does not comply with the minimum requirements
  • poses a risk to public, animal and plant health

Read more about information on official controls at BCPs.

Applying to become a BCP

If you need to construct a new BCP or extend an existing BCP at your port or airport, you must apply to have your BCP assessed and designated by the competent authority.

To apply to be designated as a BCP you should send your expression of interest or request a BCP application form from:

Your application must include:

  • the location of the BCP and the designated customs area
  • a description of the expected imports (type of commodities, volume)

After you submit your application

Relevant authorities will contact you to:

  • advise on next steps
  • assist with the submission of the building plan

The relevant authorities are:

  • Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) for BCPs for animals, animal products, plants and plant products
  • Forestry Commission (FC) for BCPs for wood products

In Scotland, you’ll get advice from Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) for BCPs for plants and plant products

BCPs for animal imports

You may be eligible to apply for funding from the Animal Biosecurity Infrastructure Fund (ABIF) to build a BCP at a maritime port in England for animal imports from EU countries (except the Republic of Ireland).

Find out how to apply for funding from the ABIF.

Get your building plan approved for a new BCP

APHA, FC or SASA will approve the building plan if it complies with BCP minimum requirements.

For BCPs for animals, animal products, plants, plant products and wood, Defra will confirm whether it supports the approval.

During the build

The relevant authorities will visit the BCP site to:

  • check that the building work follows the approved plan
  • recommend corrective actions to meet BCP requirements if necessary
  • prepare a report with their recommendations about the BCP designation for the designation competent authorities to consider

When your BCP is designated

If your BCP is for animals, animal products, plants, plant products or wood:

  • in England, Defra will notify you by email
  • in Scotland and Wales, the Scottish and Welsh government will notify you

Defra will put the BCP on the lists of BCPs for:

How long designation takes

How long it takes for your BCP to be designated will depend on the:

  • number of commodities in the scope of the designation
  • complexity of building plans
  • speed of construction


For enquiries about:

Published 9 November 2020
Last updated 11 February 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated to remove incorrect date and add information about the Animal biosecurity Infrastructure fund for BCPs for animal imports.

  2. First published.