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Import plants and plant products from the EU to Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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Import plants and plant products from the EU to Great Britain and Northern Ireland

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How to import plants, fruit, vegetables, cut flowers, trees and agricultural machinery to Great Britain and to Northern Ireland from the EU.

‘Plant’ means a living plant or a living part of a plant at any stage of growth. This includes trees and shrubs.

‘Plant product’ means products of plant origin that are unprocessed or have had a simple preparation. This includes wood and bark.

Phased plant health controls for imports

Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) has adopted a phased approach to plant health controls for plants and plant products imported from the European Union ( EU). This phased approach started in January 2021.

This guide explains what you need to do when some or all plant health controls start to apply to your consignments.

Plant health controls apply to goods that are regulated. Unregulated plants and plant products do not need to go through any plant health controls.

Plant health controls include:

  • phytosanitary certificates – documents issued in the country of origin that prove the consignment is biosecure
  • pre-notification – you must give the responsible authority advance notice each time you import regulated plants and plant products from the EUto Great Britain
  • document checks – an inspector examines official certifications and documents (these take place away from the border)
  • identity checks – an inspector confirms that the content and labelling of the goods match the information provided in certifications and documents
  • physical checks – an inspector checks the health of the plants, the consignment’s packaging, means of transport and labelling, and will help you with any other tests you may need

If you import plants and plant products from the EUto Northern Ireland, you can continue as before. There is no change to the process.

Check you have met all the customs requirements for imports from the EU. You must have an EORI number before you import any goods into Great Britain.

If you import fruit and vegetables from the EU into Great Britain, you also need to follow the quality and labelling rules.

Regulated and notifiable high-priority goods

The high-priority goods list ( ODT,12.6 KB)includes:

  • all plants for planting
  • ware potatoes
  • some seed for sowing and other plant or forest reproductive material
  • some wood and wood products
  • used agricultural or forestry machinery

If you import high-priority goods you need to:

  1. Register as a place of destination or use a place of destination that is already registered (this is where any physical and identity checks will take place).
  2. Get a phytosanitary certificate from your EU exporter.
  3. Register on an import IT system as an importer.
  4. Use the import IT system to pre-notify your goods for import in England, Scotland or Wales.
  5. Comply with documentary, identity and physical checks if needed.
  6. Pay fees for plant health checks from 1 June 2021.
  7. Meet ISPM 15 international standards for any wood packaging material you use.

Other regulated goods

Since 1 January 2022, other regulated goods imported from the EU(except the Republic of Ireland) have also needed to go through some plant health controls.

Regulated and notifiable plants and plant products

Since 1 January 2022, the following regulated and notifiable goods imported from the EU(except the Republic of Ireland) have been required to go through some plant health controls:

  • growing medium attached to plants
  • root and tubercle vegetables
  • some leafy vegetables
  • some fresh produce (fruit and vegetables)
  • some seeds, in addition to those on the high-priority list
  • some cut flowers

If you import any regulated and notifiable goods on the high-priority goods list ( ODT,12.6 KB), follow the rules for high-priority goods.

Since 1 January 2022, if you import regulated and notifiable goods from the EU(except the Republic of Ireland) you’ll have needed to:

  1. Register on an import IT system as an importer.
  2. Use the import IT system to pre-notify your goods for import in England, Scotland or Wales.

Unlike regulated and notifiable goods on the high-priority goods list ( ODT,12.6 KB), these plants and plant products will not require identity checks, physical checks or a phytosanitary certificate.

Get a phytosanitary certificate

To import regulated plants and plant products, you must get a phytosanitary certificate for each consignment from the plant health authority in the country where your supplier is.

A phytosanitary certificate is a statement from the plant health authority that the consignment:

  • has been officially inspected
  • complies with legal requirements for entry into Great Britain
  • is free from quarantine pests and diseases

The inspection referred to in the phytosanitary certificate must take place no more than 14 days before the consignment is dispatched from the country where your supplier is.

Someone in the inspecting plant health authority must sign the phytosanitary certificate within the same 14-day period.

If you need a phytosanitary certificate for your consignment, check that your EU exporter has issued a phytosanitary certificate before it arrives in Great Britain. Make sure you get a scanned copy from your exporter.

You’ll need to upload a copy of the phytosanitary certificate on the relevant import IT system if you need to pre-notify your consignment.

Submit documents after your consignment arrives

Within 3 days of your plant or plant product consignment reaching Great Britain (or as soon as possible), you must post the original phytosanitary certificate to APHA.

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