Home   Dover   News   Article

£703 million plan to replace Border Force boats to tackle illegal migration


More news, no ads

LEARN MORE

Ageing Border Force vessels will be replaced by new cutters as part of a £700 million project to improve the safety of Britain’s borders, the Treasury has announced.

A new fleet of state-of-the art patrol boats will be announced by the Chancellor this week as part of a £703 million package to protect the UK border, including Kent.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will reveal details of plans for the £700m project
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will reveal details of plans for the £700m project

At Wednesday’s Budget and Spending Review, Rishi Sunak will announce £74 million to upgrade the existing fleet of ageing, 20-year-old Border Force patrol vessels that man British shores.

They will be replaced with a new fleet of 11 cutting-edge more fuel-efficient vessels with newer engines that emit less carbon, improving Border Force’s ability to tackle serious and organised crime, the smuggling of illicit goods and illegal migration.

As part of the package, more than £628 million will be invested in the UK’s Future Borders and Immigration System programme to modernise and digitalise the border – improving waiting times, streamline border entry and visa process and bolster security.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Protecting our borders and making it easier for us all to travel to and from our great nation is at the heart of our ambitions as a government.

“We’re investing billions of pounds to safeguard our shores, crackdown on crime and create a world-leading border.”

A Border Force vessel at Dover Western Docks
A Border Force vessel at Dover Western Docks

Launching in 2023, new Electronic Travel Authorisations allow people to visit the UK for reasons, such as tourism without requiring a visa, which will in turn make the UK more attractive as a tourist destination and be the best place in the world to start, grow and invest in a business, says the government.

They say it will also improve waiting times when crossing the border and enable UK Border Force to focus its resource on areas such as enforcing customs rules and combatting crime.

The digital by default system will mean we can now count who is coming in and out of the country and a US-style Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) will be introduced to make the border more secure.

ETAs will be fully in place by the end of 2025 and will enable the government to decide at an earlier stage whether individuals should be allowed to travel to the UK.

Moving to a fully digital system will replace different physical documents with a single digital product, accessible to the individual via a secure online service at any point in their journey.

More asylum seekers are brought into Dover Marina in a Border Force Search and Rescue boat. Stock photo
More asylum seekers are brought into Dover Marina in a Border Force Search and Rescue boat. Stock photo

Now that the UK has left the EU, the Spending Review will also provide funding for more than 1,000 Border Force officers to deliver customs and transit checks for goods and support our status as an independent trading nation.

In 2020, there were around 8,500 arrivals in small boats to the UK. The new fleet will continue to work round-the-clock 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to continue to protect our nation.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

Read more: All the latest news from Dover

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More