Brexit transition Q&As - Importing plants, plant products, wood bark, used agricultural and forestry machinery

Questions and answers related to EU Exit and plant and tree health.

Q1. I intend to import plants and plant products from the EU directly into Northern Ireland (NI).  What changes to plant health controls can I expect from 1st January 2021?

There will be no changes for plants and plant products that currently require a plant passport, imported into NI from EU Member States. NI will continue to implement the EU Plant Health Regulation 2016/2031 that came into effect on 14 December 2019.

Q2. I intend to import plants and/or plant products from Great Britain (GB) into NI. What changes to plant health controls can I expect from 1stJanuary 2021?

(a). Regulated plants and plant products entering NI from GB will require a Phytosanitary Certificate (PC) issued by the competent authority in GB, confirming the consignment is free from relevant pests and diseases.

(b). If you import regulated plants or plant products from GB to NI that require a PC, please ensure you are registered as an importer with the EU Plant Health Authority responsible for the point of entry (see question 3 below). For direct imports to NI, this Authority is DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch.

(c). You must also provide pre-notification, using TRACES NT, for any regulated plants or plant product consignment to the relevant Plant Health Authority. (For direct imports to Northern Ireland, this is DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch).

(d). Regulated plants and plant products include:

  • all plants for planting;
  • root and tubercle vegetables;
  • most fruits;
  • cut flowers;
  • seeds;
  • leafy vegetables;
  • second hand machinery which has been used for agricultural, forestry, horticultural or soil preparation/cultivation purposes;
  • wood, wood products, bark and wood packaging material.

(e). Documentary checks will be carried out remotely on GB consignments by the Authority responsible for “Point of Entry” into the EU. In addition, a physical inspection of the plants or plant products may be required at the Point of Entry.

Q3. How do I register as an importer?

(a). Since 14 December 2019, any Professional Operator who plants, breeds, grows, markets, moves, despatches or processes plants and plant products and other objects such as growing medium and used farm machinery as part of their professional and legally responsible activities, including import and export into/from the EU, needs to be registered with their competent plant health authority. In Northern Ireland, this is DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch.

If you are already registered as a Professional Operator then you do not need to do so again.

For horticulture

Email phhort@daera-ni.gov.uk or contact your local Plant Health Inspector to receive a PH1 application form.

Forestry wood, bark used machinery

 https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/registration-professional-operator-and-application-become-registered-authorised-professional-0

For crops

Email phcrops@daera-ni.gov.uk or contact your local Plant Health Inspector.

Please ensure that you have an XI EORI number, this is required for HMRC import processes.

(b). For goods imported from GB to NI via the Republic of Ireland, the Authority with responsibility for the relevant “Point of Entry” in Ireland is the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). You will need to register with DAFM for such imports.

(c). If you receive EU consignments under transit across GB and also by direct route from the EU, you do not need to register as an importer. You may still need to be registered as a Professional Operator for other activities.

(d) If you are responsible for EU consignments that are cleared into GB and then moved into NI you will have to register as an importer both with Defra and DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch.

Q4. Will I need to notify DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch (PHIB) before importing plants and plant products to NI from outside the EU or GB?

 (a). Yes, for imports of plants and plant products from GB and all non-EU countries (rest of world) you must provide 24 hours advance notification before arrival by sea, and 4 hours advance notification for arrival by air. At least three working days advance notification must be provided for unprocessed logs or sawn or chipped wood that is to be brought into NI. All regulated material must enter NI at a designated point of entry.

(b). Pre-notification must be completed via the online EU Import notification platform ‘TRACES NT’. Further information can be found through the link below:

Q5. I import plants and plant products from countries outside Europe (rest of world). Can I expect any changes from 1st January 2021?

The EU rules introduced on 14th December 2019 will continue to apply to regulated plants and plant products imported to NI from non-EU countries, also known as third countries.

(a). Pre-notification is required using the EU online system TRACES NT for direct imports of regulated plants and plant products from non-EU countries.

(b). Imports of plants and plant products originating in a non-EU country that are checked and cleared at a ‘Point of Entry’ in any EU Member State will be treated as EU goods on arrival in Northern Ireland and will be required to comply with intra EU regulatory controls.

(c). Import consignments of plants and plant products from non-EU countries that transit overland through the EU and GB to arrive in Northern Ireland, but have not been checked and cleared in any EU Member State, will require the following:

      (i). A Phytosanitary Certificate issued by the competent authority in the country of export.

      (ii). Pre-notification using TRACES NT to DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch.

      (iii). Document checks and physical inspections at the NI ‘Point of Entry’.

Q6. Will EU plant passports still be recognised for internal movement of plants within the UK from 1st January 2021?

(a). NI will continue to use the EU plant passport scheme for trade with other EU Member States and internal movement of regulated plants and plant products. Existing Registered Authorised Professional Operators (RAPOs) can continue to issue EU plant passports.

 (b). EU plant passports issued by NI RAPOs will remain valid following the end of the EU Exit Transition Period for movement of plants from NI into GB. 

Q7. Will there be any physical inspection of plants and plant product imports that enter Northern Ireland directly from GB from 1st January 2021?

Yes, imports could be selected for physical inspections by DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch. When required, identity and physical inspections are performed on a risk based approach.

Q8. Can I continue to import all plants or plant products from GB from 1st January 2021?

From 1 January 2021, certain plants and plant products will be prohibited or restricted, this includes high-risk plants, for example, seed potatoes and ware potatoes. These prohibitions and requirements fall into 3 categories: a) high-risk plants, b) marketing of seed and other propagating materials, and c) prohibited plants.

(a). High-risk plants. These are plants and plant products that have been assessed by the EU as presenting a pest risk of an unacceptable level. See the full list of high-risk plants.

(b). Seeds and propagating materials set out in Annex 2 of the Northern Ireland Protocol cannot be imported and marketed in NI until such time as the EU has approved the UK application for equivalence of marketing certification.

(c). Prohibited plants and plant products

Some items will be prohibited on plant health grounds as listed below:

List of prohibited plants

Plants of Abies Mill., Cedrus Trew, Chamaecyparis Spach, Juniperus L., Larix Mill., Picea A. Dietr., Pinus L., Pseudotsuga Carr. and Tsuga Carr., other than fruit and seeds

Plants of Castanea Mill. and Quercus L., with leaves, other than fruit and seeds

Isolated bark of Castanea Mill

Wood of Ulmus L. originating from third countries or areas of third countries where Saperda tridentata Olivier is known to occur.

Plants for planting of Chaenomeles Ldl., Crateagus L., Cydonia Mill., Malus Mill., Prunus L., Pyrus L. and Rosa L., other than dormant plants free from leaves, flowers and fruits

Plants for planting of Cydonia Mill., Malus Mill., Prunus L. and Pyrus L. and their hybrids, and Fragaria L., other than seeds

Plants of Vitis L., other than fruits

Plants of Citrus L., Fortunella Swingle, Poncirus Raf., and their hybrids, other than fruits and seeds

Plants for planting of the family Poaceae, other than plants of ornamental perennial grasses of the subfamilies Bambusoideae and Panicoideae and of the genera Buchloe, Bouteloua Lag., Calamagrostis, Cortaderia Stapf., Glyceria R. Br., Hakonechloa Mak. Ex Honda, Hystrix, Molinia, Phalaris L., Shibataea, Spartina Schreb., Stipa L. and Uniola L., other than seeds

Plants for planting (other than seeds, in vitro material and naturally or bonsai subjects) of Acacia Mill., Acer L., Albizia Durazz., Alnus Mill., Annona L., Bauhinia L., Berberis L., Betula L., Caesalpinia L., Cassia L., Castanea Mill., Cornus L., Corylus L., Crataegus L., Diospyros L., Fagus L., Ficus carica L., Fraxinus L., Hamamelis L., Jasminum L., Juglans L., Ligustrum L., Lonicera L., Malus Mill., Nerium L., Persea Mill., Populus L., Prunus L., Quercus L., Robinia L., Salix L., Sorbus L., Taxus L., Tilia L., Ulmus L.,

Tubers of Solanum tuberosum L., seed potatoes

Plants for planting of stolon- or tuber-forming species of Solanum L. or their hybrids

Tubers of species of Solanum L., and their hybrids

Plants for planting of Solanaceae, other than seeds

Fruits of Momordica L. originating from third countries or areas of third countries where Thrips palmi Karny is known to occur and where effective mitigation measures for that pest are lacking.

Plants of Ullucus tuberosus (including tubers intended for growing on)

Soil as such consisting in part of solid organic substances

Growing medium as such, other than soil, consisting in whole or in part of solid organic substances, other than that composed entirely of peat or fibre of Cocos nucifera L., previously not used for growing of plants or for any agricultural purposes

Q9. Following the end of the EU Exit Transition Period, should I expect any changes to the way I export plants and plant products to the European Union?

There will be no changes to the current regulatory requirements for exporting regulated plants and plant products to EU Member States.  

Q10. I intend to export plants and plant products from NI to GB following the end of the EU Exit Transition Period, what changes can I expect?

All controlled plants and plant products that that are confirmed as originating in NI will be able to move from NI to GB with an EU/NI Plant Passport. Regulated plants and plant products which are not confirmed as originating in NI, will be subject to third country controls on entry to GB. This may include a requirement for a Phytosanitary Certificate and pre-notification to the GB competent authority responsible for the point of entry to GB.

Further information on import requirements for GB can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/importing-and-exporting-plants-and-plant-products-from-1-january-2021

In Northern Ireland, Phytosanitary Certificates will be issued by Forest Service Plant Health Inspection Branch (see question below).

Q11. How do I obtain a Phytosanitary Certificate for exporting plants, plant products or used machinery?

Anyone who requires a PC should apply for it using the Phytosanitary Export Certificate  Online (PECOL) system. Further guidance is provided on the following link:

It is the responsibility of the exporter to check the requirements set by the country of  destination. This includes seeking advice on whether a phytosanitary certificate is required for the consignment by contacting the Plant Health Authority or a plant health inspector in the country of destination. Also, check if any plants require laboratory testing or a record of plant health inspection for specific pests/diseases during the growing season.

Q12. I import wood and wood products from non-EU countries. Can I expect any changes following the end of the EU Exit Transition Period?

The EU rules introduced on 14th December 2019 will continue to apply to regulated plants and plant products imported to NI from non-EU countries, also known as third countries.

(a). Pre-notification using TRACES NT of direct imports of wood and wood products from non-EU countries entering through NI points of entry will be required.

(b). Wood and wood products from a non-EU country that are checked and cleared in an EU Member State will be treated as EU goods on arrival in Northern Ireland.

(c). Consignments of wood and wood products from non-EU countries destined for NI, that transit overland through the EU and have not been checked and cleared in a EU Member State, will require the following:

(i). A Phytosanitary Certificate issued by the competent authority in the country of export.

(ii). Pre-notification using TRACES NT to DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch.

(iii). Document checks and physical inspections at the NI ‘Point of Entry’.

Q13. I intend to import wood or wood products from GB into NI, what changes to plant health controls can I expect from 1st January 2021?

Regulated wood and wood products entering NI from GB will require:

(i). A phytosanitary certificate issued by the competent authority in GB, confirming the consignment is free from relevant pests and diseases. (See Q2 for further details).

(ii). Pre-notification to DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch using TRACES NT.

(iii). Document checks and physical inspections at the NI ‘Point of Entry’. 

Q14. I import conifer round wood with bark from the Republic of Ireland into Northern Ireland. What changes should I expect to regulatory requirements from 1st January 2021?

There will be no change to regulatory requirements for round wood with bark imported from RoI to NI from 1st January 2021.

[Please note: The Plant Health Regulation (EU) 2016/2031 requires plant passports to be issued for the movement of conifer round wood and isolated bark within relevant protected zones. This includes all movement into and within Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and also applies to imports from other EU Member States.]

Q15. Will EU plant passports for wood and bark products still be recognised for movement within the UK from 1st January 2021?

(a). NI will continue to use the EU plant passport scheme for trade with other EU Member States and for NI internal movement. Existing Registered Authorised Professional Operators (RAPOs) can continue to issue EU plant passports.

(b). EU plant passports issued by NI RAPOs will remain valid following the end of the EU Exit Transition Period for movement of wood and wood products into GB (note: this applies only to plants and plant products that are confirmed as originating in NI).

(c). Wood or wood products not confirmed as originating in NI may require a phytosanitary certificate for entry into GB from NI and require to be pre-notified to the GB competent authority responsible for the GB point of entry.

Q16. I export consignments of conifer round wood with bark or sawn wood from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland (ROI). Can I expect any changes following the end of the EU Exit Transition Period?

There will be no change to regulatory requirements for movement of conifer round wood with bark or sawn wood from NI into ROI. 

Plant Health Regulation (EU) 2016/2031, requires the use of plant passports for the movement of conifer round wood and isolated bark within relevant protected zones, including all movement into and within Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  

Q17. I import firewood from third countries overland via the GB land bridge to NI, will there be any change in requirements?

(a). If the goods are not moved under transit arrangements relevant wood and bark products on entry to NI will have to be accompanied by a Phytosanitary Certificate issued by a GB competent authority.

(b). If goods are moved under transit arrangements a Phytosanitary Certificate will not be required.

Q18. I import to NI wood products including firewood from third countries, which transit overland and enter at a port in RoI, will there be any change to the current requirements?

No, there will be no change to current requirements.

Q19. How do I become authorised to issue plant passports for wood and bark movements?

Forest Traders can issue plant passports for specified commodities, if registered and authorised by DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch.

Q20. How do I obtain a Phytosanitary Certificate for exporting wood and wood products, including woodchip and isolated bark, from NI to a non-EU country? (See also Q11 above).

Anyone who requires a PC should apply for it using the Phytosanitary Export Certificate Online (PECOL) system. For further guidance is provided on the following link:

It is the responsibility of the exporter to check the requirements set by the country of destination. This includes determining if a phytosanitary certificate is required for the consignment, by contacting the Plant Health Authority or a plant health inspector in the country of destination. Also, check if any plants require laboratory testing or a record of plant health inspection for specific pests/diseases during the growing season.

 

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