Plant health - Brexit questions & answers

Imports

In the event of EU Exit No Deal should I expect there to be changes to the import of plants and plant products from the EU?

For plants that do not currently require a plant passport there will be no changes. Some plant products may require additional certification.

There will be changes regarding plants and plant products that currently require a plant passport.

What changes can I expect if I want to import plants and plant products from the EU in the event of EU Exit No Deal?

Plants and plant products currently requiring a plant passport will require a Phytosanitary Certificate (PC) confirming the consignment free from relevant pests and diseases. The PC is issued by the Plant Health Authority of the exporting country.

If you import plants or plant products from the EU that require a PC you must provide notification to the relevant Plant Health Authority before arrival. For direct imports to Northern Ireland you must provide pre-notification to DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch. If a consignment from the EU which is destined for Northern Ireland enters the UK at a port in England, it is the port in England that is the “Point of Entry” to the UK and therefore you will be required to provide pre-notification of arrival to Defra Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA).   You will need to register as an importer with the UK Plant Health authority responsible for the point of entry.   

Documentary and identity checks will be carried out remotely on EU consignments by the authority responsible for “Point of Entry” into the UK. Only in rare cases will physical inspection of the plants need to be carried out. Any such physical inspections will be carried out at the premises of the import consignment destination.

What period of notification must I provide to the relevant Plant health Authority before importing plants and plant products?

For imports of plants and plant products from the EU you must provide notification to the relevant UK Plant Health Authority before arrival. Only In the event of an increased risk to biosecurity will PHIB impose a statutory three days’ pre-notification period.

For imports of plants and plant products from non-EU countries (rest of world) you must provide 3 days’ pre-notification to the relevant Plant Health Authority responsible for the “Point of Entry” to the UK

How do I register as an importer?

You will need to register as an importer with the UK Plant Health Authority with responsibility for the relevant “Point of Entry” to the UK. This will be the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) in the case of England or Wales, where you will need to register on the PEACH system.

Details of registration to PEACH can be found at: 

If the “Point of Entry” to the UK is at a port in Scotland for goods destined for Northern Ireland then the importer must register at: http://www.sasa.gov.uk/plant-health/plant-health-licensing and provide pre-notification to:  hort.marketing@gov.scot.

If you import plants or plant products to Northern Ireland either directly or via the Republic of Ireland, you will need to register with DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch:  

If you receive EU consignments via GB and also by direct route from the EU, we recommend you register with both APHA and DAERA.

Importers will require an EORI number, details can be found at:

I import plants from non-EU countries. Can I expect any changes in the event of EU Exit No Deal?

Direct imports of plants and plant products from non-EU countries that enter through Belfast Port or Belfast International Airport will not change from the current procedures.

Consignments of plants and plant products from non-EU countries that transit overland through the EU to arrive in Northern Ireland and have not been checked and cleared in an EU Member State will require:

  1. statutory 3 days’ pre-notification to DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch 
  2. document checks and inspection at authorised trade premises or at Belfast Port.

Plants and plant 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. If this is the case, you must comply with the import requirements for plants and plant products imported from the EU, details of these requirements are provided in question 2.

In the event of EU Exit No Deal will EU plant passports still be recognised for internal movement of plants within the UK?

The UK will lose access to the EU plant passport scheme with immediate effect following EU exit. Existing EU plant passport holders can issue UK plant passports without the need to reapply for approval to issue passports.

EU plant passports will not be valid following EU exit. There will however be a grace period to facilitate the changeover to UK plant passports.

I import wood and wood products from non-EU countries, can I expect any changes in the case of EU Exit No Deal?

Direct imports of wood and wood products through Belfast Port will not change from the current procedures.

Consignments of wood and wood products from non-EU countries that transit overland through the EU to arrive in Northern Ireland and have not been checked and cleared in an EU Member State will require:

  • notification to DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch 3 days before arrival
  • document checks and inspection at authorised trade premises or at Belfast Port.

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. If this is the case, you must comply with the import requirements for plants and plant products imported from the EU, details of these requirements are provided in question 2.

In the event of EU Exit No Deal will EU plant passports for wood and bark products still be recognised for movement within the UK?

The UK will lose access to the EU plant passport scheme with immediate effect following EU exit. Existing EU plant passport holders can issue UK plant passports without the need to reapply for approval to issue passports.

EU plant passports will not be valid following EU exit. There will however be a grace period to facilitate the changeover to UK plant passports.

What are the import controls on Wood Packing Material (WPM) and dunnage in the event of EU Exit No Deal?

Relevant WPM and dunnage moving between UK and EU will need to be ISPM15 compliant (treated and marked). Wood Packaging Material includes pallets, crates, boxes, cable drums, spools and dunnage.

The plant health risk from WPM from the EU is not expected to change as a result of EU exit. Checks on WPM will be carried out on a risk-targeted basis. 

You can find more details at: ISPM15.

Will there be any physical inspection of EU Imports of plants and plant products that enter Northern Ireland either directly or via GB?

Plants and plant products of EU origin imported at a “Point of Entry” in England/Wales/Scotland or directly into Northern Ireland will be subject to remote documentary checks. In some cases imports may be selected for inspections by PHIB as part of risk based surveillance. In the event that such inspections take place they will be carried out at the business destination of the consignment.

Can I import ware potatoes from the EU in the event of EU Exit No Deal?

Ware potatoes from the EU will continue to be permitted under current arrangements but there will be some additional requirements for EU countries subject to emergency plant health measures. These countries include Spain (other than the Balearic Islands), certain areas of Portugal and Poland. Should you wish to bring in ware potatoes from these areas please contact DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch at: planthealth.info@daera-ni.gov.uk

Can I import seed potatoes from the EU in the event of EU Exit No Deal?

a) Importation of seed potatoes from the EU will be permitted into Northern Ireland for one year from the date of EU exit. 

b) Importers are required to provide pre-notification of arrival to Plant Health Inspection Branch:  phcrops@daera-ni.gov.uk

c) Import consignments of seed potatoes require a Phytosanitary Certificate issued by the country of origin.

d) Only certified seed potatoes of Union Grades A and B (blue label seed) will be permitted as Northern Ireland is a High Grade Seed Area.

Exports

In the event of EU Exit No Deal should I expect there to be changes to the way I export plants and plant products to the EU?

For plants that do not currently require a plant passport there should be no changes. Some plant products may require additional certification.

There will be changes regarding plants and plant products that currently require plant passports. The EU has confirmed it will treat the UK as a third country in the event of EU Exit No Deal so all current EU third country controls will apply.

What changes can I expect if I want to export plants and plant products to the EU in the event of EU Exit No Deal?

In the event of EU Exit “No Deal” plants and plant products currently requiring a plant passport will instead require a phytosanitary certificate confirming the consignment free from relevant pests and disease. The EU will apply third country controls to UK exports.

In Northern Ireland Phytosanitary Certificates will be issued by Forest Service Plant Health Inspection Branch.

All consignments requiring a phytosanitary certificate will need to be notified to the Plant Health authorities of the relevant EU member state 3 days before arrival. 

Exports must satisfy the statutory customs requirements of the importing country.

How do I obtain a Phytosanitary Certificate for exporting plants?

It is the responsibility of the exporter to check the requirements set by the country of destination.

  • check if a phytosanitary certificate is required by contacting the Plant Health Authority or a plant health inspector in the country of destination. Check if any plants require laboratory testing or if inspection during the growing season is required.
  • apply to DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch for a PC before export. https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/import-and-export-plants

Will there be changes to regulations for Wood Packing Material (WPM) and dunnage?

All relevant WPM and dunnage moving between UK and EU will need to be ISPM15 compliant (treated and marked). Wood packaging material includes pallets, crates, boxes, cable drums, spools and dunnage.

In the event of EU Exit No Deal the UK will not have a notice period or phasing in period for treatment and marking of WPM to meet ISM15 requirements. For details: ISPM15

How do I obtain a Phytosanitary Certificate for exporting wood and wood products including woodchip and isolated bark?

It is the responsibility of the exporter to check the requirements set by the country of destination. Check if a phytosanitary certificate (PC) is required by contacting the plant health authority or a plant health inspector in the country of destination.

Apply to DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch for a PC before export.

 or email:  forestwoodandbarkphi@daera-ni.gov.uk

Do I need a plant passport to send wood or bark products from Northern Ireland to elsewhere in the UK?

If you are moving relevant material into or within a pest free area you will require a UK plant passport which is valid for that pest free area.

Plant passports will be required for the movement of controlled forestry material between NI and GB.

How do I obtain a plant passport for wood and bark?

Forest Traders can issue plant passports for specified commodities if registered and authorised by DAERA Tree Health Inspection Unit. 

How do I become a registered Forest Trader?

If you are not already a Registered Forest Trader you can apply to DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch, forms will be available at:

Will I be able to sell ware potatoes to the Republic of Ireland and other EU countries in the event of EU Exit No Deal?

The EU have stated that in the event of a No Deal, the UK will be treated as a Third Country and UK ware potatoes will not be eligible to be marketed in the EU.

The UK has submitted an application for third country equivalence for ware potatoes but the EU has stated that they will not consider this application until ongoing withdrawal negotiations have been completed.

Is there anything I can do to sell ware potatoes to the Republic of Ireland or other EU countries after EU Exit No Deal?

It would be prudent for exporters of potatoes to the EU to complete as much trade as possible before EU Exit.

I would like to sell seed potatoes to the Republic of Ireland and to other EU Member States after EU Exit, will this be permitted in the event of an EU Exit No Deal?

The EU have stated that in the event of a No Deal, the UK will be treated as a Third Country and UK seed potatoes will not be eligible to be marketed in the EU. Only a small number of Third Countries are allowed to sell seed potatoes into the EU and this can only be done by specific agreement. The UK has submitted an application for third country equivalence for seed potatoes but the EU has stated that they will not consider this application until the ongoing withdrawal negotiations have been completed.

Is there anything I can do to sell seed potatoes to the Republic of Ireland or other EU countries after EU Exit No Deal?

Under the scenario of EU Exit “No Deal” the only way to ensure seed potatoes are accepted into the EU is to deliver in advance of EU Exit.

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