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Region's ports could see increase in trade of protected plants and animals should we get a no-deal Brexit

PUBLISHED: 12:10 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:30 06 February 2019

The Port of Felixstowe  has been designated a CITES port in the event of a no-deal Brexit  Picture: Adam Boughey

The Port of Felixstowe has been designated a CITES port in the event of a no-deal Brexit Picture: Adam Boughey

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Ports at Felixstowe and Harwich as well as Stansted Airport are included on a new list of UK entry points designated to deal with so-called CITES-listed species to and from Europe.

The entrance to Harwich Port's Parkestone Quay   Picture:  


Andrew PartridgeThe entrance to Harwich Port's Parkestone Quay Picture: Andrew Partridge

CITES stands for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora - a treaty which aims to ensure the trade in rare animals and plants does not threaten their survival. It gives protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, musical instruments or dried herbs.

It takes in house plants, such as some types of orchid, and different species of fish and birds. Rosewood, which can be found in violins and guitars, and crocodile and python skins, still used to make fashion accessories like handbags and boots, are also on the list.

Aerial view of Stansted airport. Picture: StanstedAerial view of Stansted airport. Picture: Stansted

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All products relating to CITES species can be traded freely within the EU but should the UK leave without a deal, protected animals and plants would need a permit to be transported between the UK and the EU and would only be able to travel through designated ports.

Along the line of quays of the Port of Felixstowe. Picture: Mike PageAlong the line of quays of the Port of Felixstowe. Picture: Mike Page

To make sure there is enough capacity within the system in the event of a no-deal, the government has increased the number of CITES points of entry and exit for goods. The move could provide a boost to trade for the ports at Felixstowe and Harwich because the route into the Hook of Holland is important for trade with Europe.

Busy ports, such as Eurotunnel and Dover, are not currently proposed for designation to avoid potential delays, and businesses who regularly use these routes may need to make alternative arrangements.

Environment Minister and Suffolk Coastal MP Thérèse Coffey said: “The CITES convention plays a key role in protecting endangered species and we will continue to uphold it after we leave the EU.

“This Government has been absolutely clear on our commitment to deliver the Brexit deal negotiated with the EU. But the government is preparing for any eventuality.”

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