CONCERNS have been raised by the Scottish Government about the “availability of basic foodstuffs” in Scotland due to “inadequate information” from Westminster on new Brexit trade measures, The National can reveal.

In a letter to the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Scottish Government said it had received “no clear answers” from Whitehall on the implementation of the new Border Target Operating Model.

The scheme sets new rules for how imported goods arriving in Britain from abroad are processed – introducing new digital health certificates for the likes of live plant and animal products.

It is due to come in this month but Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon (below) said information on how it should be implemented at Scottish ports had not been “forthcoming” from the UK Government, in a letter seen by The National.

The National: Mairi Gougeon

She wrote: “One of my chief concerns now is the continuing absence of any information about how the Windsor Framework will be implemented in conjunction of the [Border Target Operating Model].

“To be blunt, without significant information on how the determination of non-qualifying Northern Irish good […] status will be made, to whom communicated, how, and within what deadlines, it is completely impossible to determine what, if any facilities and services may be required at Scottish (and other) ports on the Irish Sea, including Cairnryan.

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"You will comprehend that, if we do not know whether two consignments, 2000 consignments, or none are expected to be timeously notified to relevant officials in Scotland, it is beyond practicality to develop an appropriate facility that is effective, efficient and proportionate.”

She added: “These are basic components to any import control scheme, yet we find ourselves in the month that such controls are due to come into effect with no clear answers on any operational aspect.

“This is unacceptable given how controls have the potential to impact on Scotland’s food resilience and security, on the availability and accessibility of basic foodstuffs, especially in rural and island areas, and crucially, to the cost of food, harming people and businesses still further as we start a new year.”

Gougeon said that while information on how the scheme would be administered was “operational” it was “solely within the gift of the UK Government” to provide it, adding: “It is equally impossible to understand which organisations and staff will be needed to resource any such checks, if such there will be.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: "The Government remains committed to delivering the most advanced border in the world.

"The Border Target Operating Model is key to delivering this and introduces an innovative approach to importing that will be introduced progressively.

"The model has been developed following extensive engagement with the border industry and businesses across the UK, and in collaboration with the Scottish and Welsh devolved administrations."