Hope for change in ‘fraught’ post-Brexit horse transport *H&H Plus*

  • In our latest coverage of the post-Brexit issues affecting the equestrian industry, H&H attends an online conference on the current situation, and finds out what work is being undertaken to try to remedy the situation

    TRAVELLING horses across borders has been “fraught with new challenges” since Brexit, but it is hoped change will come.

    On 17 March the Road Haulage Association (RHA) hosted a webinar, Haulier “Get Ready”: International Horse Transport, during which industry experts discussed issues experienced since Brexit, and reminded those travelling horses of the new extensive paperwork requirements and rules. Included in the requirements are export health certificates, customs declaration forms, animal transport authorisation, and vehicle approval certificates, as previously reported by H&H.

    RHA head of international transport John Lucy said in the past 10 weeks the entire haulage industry had been “turned on its head”.

    “It certainly appears the transport of horses across our border has been fraught with the new challenges,” he said, adding that the recent Government transport consultation looking into animal welfare makes now a good time to raise concerns following Brexit.

    “It’s timely that we get some of these issues out there into the public and use this as a platform to get the views of the horse transport industry into the Government.”

    Julie Magnus of Julie Magnus Racehorse Transport reminded those travelling horses of the importance of having the correct operator licence (obtained from the DVSA), and understanding the commercial aspects.

    “Since we have left, the EU has said what they consider is commercial; if your primary income is horses, training or riding, you are required to have operator licences,” she said,

    “There’s no way around it – commercial is commercial. It all has to be done above aboard and unfortunately people that have gone across have been stopped and fined €10,000 [£8,500] for not having these licences.”

    Charles Cunningham of Horse Transport Europe spoke about EU horsebox requirements including container certificates, the requirement for temperature monitoring and data logging, and the application process for animal transport authorisation, and urged people to “plan ahead”.

    “Prior to Brexit, lorries doing international movement of horses had one container certificate. Now as the certificates are not recognised between the EU and the UK we have to have them inspected in both jurisdictions. There is a list on the Defra website as to what the specifications are,” he said.

    “For the temperature and data logging these are downloaded pieces of kit, so if there was any issue during transit the authorities can log in and see what the temperatures were, and how they were maintained.”

    Concerns have previously been raised about delays in Calais, and the port‘s deputy managing director Benoit Rochet said some 15,000 horses cross the Channel each way per year. Those travelling horses are required to book a slot for their arrival in Calais 48 hours before departing Dover.

    “The procedure that has been put in place has been negotiated with French customs and the official vets so that the time spent on the port is reduced,” he said, adding that the target for arriving and receiving authorisation to leave the port is one-and-a-half hours

    “We want our clients to be happy. They don’t want to stay for a long time so that’s something we’re working on.”

    Jan Rogers of the British Horse Council said the changes are a “natural feature” of having left the EU, adding that because no country has left before, there was no precedent. She said because of the free trade agreement there is capacity to bring in specialised committees and scope for some requirements to be changed.

    “These [requirements] could be further refined and become less onerous over time with negotiations. That will come as a result of drawing upon information gathered in consultations,” she said.

    “We’re also collecting a lot of information and data through colleagues on the Continent and governing bodies; we’re looking at where the challenges are and where, between us, we can get reciprocity from the changes. Information is valuable and changes can be brought about provided we have sufficient evidence to demonstrate that it will be valuable. The future will change – this isn’t cast in stone.”

    You might also be interested in…