Apply for funding to build border control posts for live animal imports

How maritime ports and commercial operators in England can apply for funding from the Animal Biosecurity Infrastructure Fund to build border control posts for live animal imports.

Applies to England

From late 2024, new sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks on live animal imports from the EU will be carried out at border control posts (BCPs)

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is providing up to £20 million in grants through the Animal Biosecurity Infrastructure Fund (ABIF) to increase capacity for live animal import checks for maritime trade routes in England (excluding Kent). 

The aim of the fund is to increase capacity, support trade continuity and promote high standards of animal welfare and biosecurity for live animal imports. 

The fund will cover eligible capital costs of building BCPs for live animal imports from EU countries within Continental Europe. 

Check you’re eligible to apply for funding 

To be eligible to apply for funding from the ABIF you must be one of the following: 

  • a maritime port located in England that currently handles live animal imports from the EU within Continental Europe 
  • a commercial operator planning to develop a BCP for a maritime port in England that currently handles live animal imports from the EU within Continental Europe 

You cannot apply for funding to deliver a BCP for a maritime port in: 

  • Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the UK Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man) 
  • Kent  

Check what costs the fund will cover 

You can only apply for funding to cover the eligible capital costs of building a BCP for existing live animal import volumes which enter through a maritime port. You can apply to cover costs up to £10 million. 

Capital costs that are eligible for funding include money spent on: 

  • construction and building materials 
  • buying land 
  • modifying or extending existing BCPs to handle animal imports 
  • demolition 
  • installation and assembly 
  • staff costs or professional fees that are directly related to the construction of the BCP 

You may also be able to apply to be reimbursed for eligible costs if you’ve already started building a BCP. Projects funded by any other grants will not be eligible for further funding unless it’s for new SPS checks of live animals. 

You cannot use the fund to cover: 

  • costs of building BCPs that handle other goods 
  • operational costs (including the costs of any government agency to operate the BCP) 
  • any other non-capital costs 
  • VAT costs which are recoverable - you’ll need to claim these costs separately from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC

Confirm you intend to apply 

You must confirm with Defra that you intend to apply for funding (this is known as pre-qualifying). 

You must do the following by 11:59pm on 15 December 2023: 

  • email to ask for and submit a non-disclosure agreement form 
  • send your expression of interest and ask for a BCP application form from to start the BCP designation process - say in the email subject line that this is an ABIF application 

Defra will send you an email within 3 working days to acknowledge your intention to apply. 

If you pre-qualify you’ll be: 

  • given access to the invitation to apply (ITA) on Defra’s eCommercial system Atamis 
  • invited to discuss your BCP design with officials from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) and Defra 

The invitation to apply sets out the: 

  • timetable and process 
  • information you need to provide 
  • evaluation criteria  

Contact Defra to find out more about the fund and application process

Discuss and agree your BCP design with APHA 

If you pre-qualify, you’ll be invited to have 4 ‘design calls’ with officials from APHA to discuss your BCP design. You’ll be able to check if your proposed costs are eligible for funding during one of these calls. 

You must agree your BCP design with APHA before you submit it with your application. 

BCP requirements 

BCPs for animals must have: 

  • areas or rooms covered by a roof where animals will be unloaded
  • inspection rooms or areas that have restraining equipment, equipment to carry out clinical examinations, a supply of hot and cold running water, and facilities for washing and drying hands 
  • housing areas or rooms to separately detain different species of animals  
  • access to toilets with facilities for washing and drying hands 
  • rooms that are fitted with walls, floors and ceilings that are easy to clean and disinfect, have adequate drainage and adequate natural or artificial light 
  • changing rooms with showering facilities 
  • a dedicated access lane or other arrangements to spare the animals from any unnecessary waiting before they reach the unloading area 
  • suitable space to isolate an animal if it does not pass inspection

BCPs must be designed, constructed, maintained and operated to avoid injury and unnecessary suffering of the animals and ensure their safety. 

Full requirements for building and managing a BCP are set out in the following pieces of legislation: 

Contact Defra for more information 

You can contact Defra to ask questions about the fund and the application process from 1 December until 15 December 2023 by emailing 

After 15 December 2023, only applicants who have pre-qualified should contact Defra. You should submit all questions on Atamis. 

You should not include commercially sensitive or confidential information in your email. 

Officials will aim to reply to your email within 3 working days. 

Defra will publish questions and answers on Atamis throughout the application process. All information that’s published will be anonymous.

Join a briefing session.

There will be a planned briefing session within the first of week of the launch of the fund.

You can request an invite by emailing

Published 1 December 2023