Import health standard for machinery

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)’s import health standard for machinery entering Northern Ireland.

Machinery from any Country


  • Machinery - includes any article of machinery or equipment or any part thereof
  • Contaminants - those items listed under Used machinery (see below)

General Conditions

It is the responsibility of the importer to ensure that any used machinery complies with the conditions in this standard. Used machinery that does not comply with the conditions of this standard will be detained and may be reshipped or destroyed.

New machinery or equipment

There are no conditions on the importation of new machinery into Northern Ireland unless, upon arrival, an inspector considers that the machinery has been contaminated in transit. In such a circumstance, the machinery will be treated as used machinery.

Used machinery

All used machinery is prohibited entry into Northern Ireland unless it has been cleaned free of all contaminants prior to shipping, and stored and carried in a manner that precludes recontamination.

Every item of used machinery (including dunnage and packaging) shall be free of contamination by any:

  • animals, insects or other invertebrates (in any lifecycle stage), eggs, egg casings or rafts, or any organic material of animal origin (including blood, bones, fibre, meat, secretions, and excretions)
  • plants or plant products (including fruit, sees, leaves, twigs, roots, bark, saw dust, or other organic material)
  • soil or water

All parts and surfaces of the used machinery must be free of contamination including the chassis, tray, undercarriage, wheels, tyres/tracks, suspension, drive shaft, exhaust, the cab or passenger compartment, winches, pulleys, booms, baggage/tool compartment, engine compartment, and any other interior or exterior compartment.

The importer is advised to notify DAERA of his/her intent to import machinery, prior to shipment.

The purpose of the notification is to allow DAERA to consider if any special requirements are needed for specific items of machinery.

Inspection on arrival in Northern Ireland

Used machinery shall be inspected within the ferry operator’s disembarkation compound at which they have arrived.

All used machinery which is imported as bulk cargo will be initially inspected aboard the vessel, where it is more practical to do so. Where gross contamination of the consignment is observed aboard the vessel, discharge may be prohibited.

Used machinery detained for inspection upon arrival must not be removed from the disembarkation compound until cleared by an authorised DAERA inspector.

Every compartment and surface may be inspected. If any compartment or structural areas cannot be readily opened by an inspector, because of accidental damage or any other reason, the inspector may require those areas to be opened by the importer or his/her agent.

All wood/timber associated with imports (for example, floorboards and decking) may be inspected for fungal decay and/or insect attack.


Where a vehicle or machinery arriving in Northern Ireland is found to be contaminated, the Department will issue a notice prohibiting its unauthorised removal from the port, and may direct that it is re-exported to the port from which it originated.

In any case, the action will be at the importer’s expense.

If, in the opinion of an inspector, the contamination found is such that there is a risk of dispersal prior to decontamination, steps as necessary shall be undertaken to address the risk. Options may include prohibiting discharge, tenting the equipment, fogging, spraying etc.


The costs of reshipment or destruction, and any demurrage relating to delays in clearance due to any used machinery not meeting the requirements of this standard, are the responsibility of the importer.

For further details or help

For further details or help regarding the importation of agricultural and/or construction machinery into Northern Ireland, you should contact the Portal Office at the Airport/Port that you intend to use.

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