'Any enhancement of SPS facilities for Protocol wholly inappropriate' – DUP

Carla Lockhart MP.Carla Lockhart MP.
Carla Lockhart MP.
DUP Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesperson, Carla Lockhart MP, has said proposals by the government to press ahead with the enhancement of sanitary/phytosanitary facilities in Northern Ireland is “wrong”.

The Upper Bann representative said it will only confirm to those within the agri-food sector that the “negative and detrimental impact of the Protocol on movements across the Irish Sea is potentially being entrenched”.

A ‘green lane’ is to be used for goods arriving from Great Britain and staying in Northern Ireland, while a ‘red lane’ will be used for goods travelling on to the Republic of Ireland and wider EU.

The government has said existing facilities at points of entry will have to be enhanced, with legislation published this week empowering UK ministers to move forward with the building of such posts.

Speaking from Westminster, Ms Lockhart said: “The priority for the DUP is to ensure that Northern Ireland’s place within the UK internal market is fully restored and within that to see the protection of our agri-food sector, and its freedom to again operate on a UK-wide basis.

“We have been making the case, based on our seven tests, that in new arrangements there should be no checks on goods moving in any direction within the UK internal market, and no new regulatory barriers developed between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom unless agreed and supported by the Assembly and Executive,” she added.

Ms Lockhart described it as a “retrograde step” for the government to press ahead, without clear explanation, and take powers to build enhanced inspection points.

She continued: “I know that, on a weekly basis, I am contacted by those within our agri-food sector who are encountering difficulty due to the terms of the Protocol.

“We need to see these issues addressed, not reinforced.

“Our Party Leader, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP, has made clear to Lord Benyon that this move is inappropriate.

“We need the government to step back from any attempt to entrench the Protocol and, instead, seek solutions that will work for Northern Ireland and that will command broad support within Northern Ireland,” Ms Lockhart concluded.