A number of constituents have contacted me about travelling to the EU and to Northern Ireland for people with assistance dogs.
I understand concerns have been raised that the UK has received part 2 listed status for pet travel following the end of the Brexit transition period, which has resulted in assistance dog users facing unnecessary, burdensome requirements when travelling to the EU or to Northern Ireland.
I am very concerned about the significant impact this is having on the ability of assistance dog owners to travel abroad for work or family reasons. It is completely unacceptable that specific arrangements have not been put in place for assistance dog owners. I urge the UK Government to ensure that assistance dog owners are not disadvantaged under travel arrangements and to ensure their needs are prioritised.
The UK Government says it will continue to press the EU Commission regarding securing part 1 listed status. It says that achieving this would alleviate some of the new requirements for assistance dog users travelling to the EU and to Northern Ireland.
The UK Government says it is working with the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) on a permanent solution which respects the rights of assistance dog users to travel with minimum friction.
It says it will continue to work closely with assistance dog organisations to understand the impacts on assistance dog users and to share the latest advice and guidance, in accessible formats, on pet travel requirements.
Thank you once again for contacting me and sharing your views about this important issue. I will follow developments on this matter closely.