A FORMER ferry port could become a border control post under a post-Brexit bid launched by local leaders.

Authorities in Dumfries and Galloway say the old Stena port in Stranraer must become a key transit site "now that the UK has left the EU".

Border control posts are used to carry out checks on consignments of animals and animal products. Prior to Brexit, this was needed for goods arriving at a European Union border from a third country, but EU withdrawal means more red tape for Scottish firms.

In December, Scottish Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing suggested such a post should be established at nearby Cairnryan, which has live ferry connections to Northern Ireland.

But ex-Labour MSP Elaine Murray, the Dumfries and Galloway Council, has now written to Europe Secretary Michael Russell to request a post is placed in Stranraer instead.

Murray and depute leader Rob Davidson say such a move would bring "valuable employment opportunities" to the region and lay the ground for "broader economic" potential.

The National:

Cross-channel ferries from Northern Ireland stopped sailing to the former Stena port in 2011, ending around 150 years of connection due to the switch to bigger ships and the rising cost of fuel.

Dumfries and Galloway Council says it is now "an ideal location for the border control facility as it is in a prime position for proximity to the ports, already has some infrastructure in place, and is close to local businesses and services".

Murray said: "If our suggestion is taken forward, the siting of a border control post here would bring a number of positive benefits to the region and the local economy.

"From the development phase through to completion and the longer-term future, the advantages gained through creating quality professional employment opportunities could be invaluable, in addition to the extra footfall and the advantages this will bring to local businesses in the proximity."

Davidson added: "Whatever results the UK’s withdrawal from the EU may bring, we are committed to exploring every opportunity that may arise for our region.

"We are aware that there is significant interest from the local community around the Stranraer area regarding the effects Brexit will have on them and we have also requested in our letter that the Scottish Government acknowledge this and undertake effective community engagement on any plans and decisions they have for the local vicinity and the region as a whole."